Prince Andrew is believed to be hoping to return to royal duties (Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire)
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Prince Andrew's chance to return to royal duties is all but over even if he was to speak to US officials about his links to Jeffrey Epstein, sources claim.
The Duke of York, 60, stepped back from the spotlight after his disastrous BBC interview in November last year.
But in recent weeks, there have been murmurings that Andrew is looking to restore his battered public image, in the hope that he would be able to return to serve the Queen.
However, sources say it is highly unlikely that the Duke of York would be able to do that, even if he was to speak to US prosecutors about his links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, something he has not yet done, despite authorities in America making it clear they would like to clarify some issues.
One well-placed source told the Daily Mail : "Even if the duke were to resolve matters satisfactorily over [Epstein], there is still an issue about [his] lack of understanding over the seriousness of the situation and not accepting that the relationship was wrong."
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Speaking about his role as a working Royal, they added: "I am not sure there will ever be an opportunity for him to return."
Andrew is alleged to have had sex on three occasions with a 17-year-old ‘sex slave’ of Epstein’s, Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), who claims that both the billionaire and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, a long term of friend of Andrew’s, forced her into having relations with the royal.
The Queen’s son has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
(Image: Patrick McMullan via Getty Image)
The Duke of York stepped back from official duties amid public outcry last year after his disastrous Newsnight interview.
But he reportedly believes he can still help "support the monarchy" and go back to public duties – despite concerns from within the family.
He was said to have been meeting with the Queen, potentially discussing how he can return to serve her.
But while the Queen is believed to be sympathetic to Andrew, 60, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are “united” in their view that the prince should be kept away from any public role owing to his battered reputation.
Andrew is continuing to work to clear his name and rehabilitate his image with the help of lawyers from the City firm Blackfords, Clare Montgomery QC and the PR specialist and crisis management expert Mark Gallagher.
Prince Andrew has reportedly had secret meetings with The Queen about returning to public duties
(Image: Getty Images)
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But many in the royal household and beyond, including some of the near 200 charities and organisations he stepped down or was dumped from, believe his “toxic” presence is no longer helpful.
In July, he was absent from his daughter Princess Beatrice’s official wedding photographs released by Buckingham Palace and will not accompany other members of the royal family at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday commemorations next weekend.
Prince Andrew spoke out in a disastrous BBC interview
His former friend Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, is currently languishing in a New York jail on charges of facilitating underage girls for Epstein to abuse, heaping further pressure on Andrew.
A royal source said: “Andrew would do well to keep his head down while the rest of the family carries on with the business in hand.”