Public 'won't forgive' Prince Andrew over Epstein, claims royal expert

The public ‘won’t forgive’ Andrew: Royal experts say Britain may never see Duke’s sex attack scandal in the same way as Justin Welby after Archbishop of Canterbury said it was a ‘good thing’ royal was ‘seeking to make amends’

  • Royal expert Ingrid Seward reacted to comments by Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The Most Reverend Justin Welby yesterday said royal is ‘trying to make amends’
  • Comments came after royal agreed £12million settlement with Virginia Roberts
  • Ms Roberts claimed she was assaulted by Prince three times when she was 17
  • Prince Andrew denied allegations but agreed an out-of-court settlement in US 

A top royal expert has today said she believes the public ‘will not forgive’ Prince Andrew following his role in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal – despite calls by the Archbishop of Canterbury for society to be ‘more forgiving’.

Royal journalist and author Ingrid Seward said the Duke of York was now ‘very hard to defend’ following sexual assault allegations made against him by Virginia Roberts.

Prince Andrew, 62, repeatedly denied the allegations that he sexually assaulted Ms Roberts when she was 17 and being trafficked by his friend Epstein. But earlier this year he agreed a £12million out-of-court settlement before the case went to a US civil trial.

Yesterday the scandal came to the forefront again when Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby suggested it was a ‘good thing’ the royal was ‘trying to make amends’ for his role in the Epstein scandal.

The church leader, speaking in the spirit of Christian forgiveness, said society had become ‘very unforgiving’ – before clarifying that he was speaking generally following a backlash over his interview.

However in a live debate about the comments, Ms Seward suggested the ‘general feeling’ was that the public ‘will not forgive’ the Prince.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Ms Seward, who has written a number of royal books and is the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said: ‘I think he (Andrew) is very hard to defend. 

‘Whenever I’ve tried to say, well you know as far as we are concerned and probably as far as his mother is concerned he is innocent until proven guilty.

‘He’s obviously told his friends and his mother and his family that he is innocent. And I personally might believe him, or I might not. But I think the general feeling is people just will not forgive him. 

‘And this is where I think (Justin) Welby is trying to say is that we’ve become a society which is incredibly unforgiving and judgmental and it is all about “look at me, look at me” and then “look at them they are disgusting and they behave really badly”.

Today Ms Seward suggested the public ‘will not forgive’ Prince Andrew. The experienced journalist and biographer also attempted to clarify the Most Reverend’s comments

Royal journalist and biographer Ingrid Seward said the Duke of York was now ‘very hard to defend’ following the allegations by Ms Roberts

Yesterday the scandal hit the headlines again when the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (pictured), who, in the spirit of Christian forgiveness, suggested the Duke of York was ‘trying to make amends’ for his role in the Epstein scandal 

‘I think that is what (Justin) Welby was trying to say. But he is canny enough to know that as soon as you mention anything to do with the royal family it is going to be front page news.

‘So I think Welby was trying to get his point across by intervening and using Andrew as a sort of magic stick so that people would listen to what he is saying.’  

Archbishop of Canterbury is forced to BACKTRACK over claims Prince Andrew should be ‘forgiven’ following his sex attack scandal

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been forced to backtrack after he claimed Prince Andrew should be forgiven following his sex scandal.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said that he thinks it’s a ‘very good thing’ that the shamed Royal is trying to make up for his role in the Jeffrey Epstein affair.

Speaking on ITV tonight, the Archbishop said he felt people should try to forgive the Duke of York, and that everyone should ‘step back a bit’.

But the Archbishop was later forced to clarify his remarks after eyebrows were raised at the suggestion, saying he was not specifically referring to Prince Andrew when he said we must become a more forgiving society.

Instead, he insisted he was making a ‘broader point’ about Britain becoming a more forgiving society and denied he was referring specifically to the Duke. 

The Archbishop’s comments came after the Queen’s son was implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, with claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked by the paedophile billionaire.

He eventually paid his accuser, Virginia Roberts Guiffre, £12 million in a settlement that stopped it ending up in court.

Archbishop Justin Welby, in an interview with ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, said: ‘Forgiveness really does matter. I think we have become a very, very unforgiving society. There’s a difference between consequences and forgiveness. 

‘I think for all of us, one of the ways that we celebrate when we come together is in learning to be a more open and forgiving society. 

‘Now with Prince Andrew, I think we all have to step back a bit. He’s seeking to make amends and I think that’s a very good thing. 

‘But you can’t tell people how they’re to respond about this. And the issues of the past in the area of abuse are so intensely personal and private for so many people. 

‘It’s not surprising. There’s very deep feelings, indeed.’ 

Newsweek’s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, who also took part in the live debate this morning, struck a less forgiving tone.

He accused Prince Andrew of attempting to ‘weasel’ out of a sex assault lawsuit in the US brought by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts.

Prince Andrew eventually paid his accuser, who now goes by her married name of Virginia Giuffre, £12million in a settlement that stopped it ending up in a civil court trial.

Asked by Good Morning Britain host Richard Madeley if Prince Andrew was ‘permanently beyond the pale’ and if there was ‘nothing he could say or do to get rid of this bad smell of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein’, Mr Royston said: ‘His opportunity was the court case.

‘He could have tried to win that court case and prove his innocence. But when he bought himself out of that court case he gave up that opportunity.

‘Not only that, but he made it very clear, right from the word go, that he was basically going to weasel his way out of it by making it very difficult for Virginia’s team to serve him papers.

‘He then tried about four different approaches to try and get the case thrown out – all of which were rejected by a judge.

‘The conduct of his lawyers alone is enough that Justin Welby should not in a million years have been making these comments.’

Mr Royston also described Mr Welby’s comments as ‘inappropriate’ and said it was ‘way too soon’ to speak about forgiveness.

He said: ‘Honestly, I don’t think the time will ever come.

‘Prince Andrew’s approval rating is currently hovering around minus 80, which is extraordinarily low for anybody, particularly a member of the royal family.

‘The public will never forgive him and they just simply do not see this issue the way Justin Welby sees it.

‘I think it is extraordinarily inappropriate for Justin Welby to be saying this. Prince Andrew has been accused of a very serious crime.’

It comes as the Archbishop was yesterday forced to backtrack after he claimed Prince Andrew should be forgiven following his sex scandal.

In an interview with ITV, the respected religious leader, who heads the Church of England, said he believed it to be a ‘very good thing’ that the shamed Royal is trying to make up for his role in the Jeffrey Epstein affair.

He said he felt people should try to forgive the Duke of York, and that everyone should ‘step back a bit’.

But the Archbishop was later forced to clarify his remarks after eyebrows were raised at the suggestion, saying he was not specifically referring to Prince Andrew when he said we must become a more forgiving society.

Instead, he insisted he was making a ‘broader point’ about Britain becoming a more forgiving society and denied he was referring specifically to the Duke. 

His comments came after Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son was implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal.

Ms Roberts claimed Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was 17 and being trafficked by the late paedophile billionaire Epstein.

Prince Andrew denied the allegations – and claimed he did not remember meeting Ms Roberts. 

But after unsuccessfully attempting to have the US civil case thrown out before a trial, he struck a £12million settlement deal with his 

Newsweek’s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, who also took part in the live debate this morning, struck a less forgiving tone. He accused Prince Andrew of attempting to ‘weasel’ out of a sex assault lawsuit in the US brought by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, pictured here shaking hands with Prince Andrew, has suggested the Duke of York be forgiven

Prince Andrew had been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been trafficked by paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein (pictured)

Archbishop Justin Welby, in an interview with ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, said: ‘Forgiveness really does matter. I think we have become a very, very unforgiving society. There’s a difference between consequences and forgiveness. 

‘I think for all of us, one of the ways that we celebrate when we come together is in learning to be a more open and forgiving society. 

‘Now with Prince Andrew, I think we all have to step back a bit. He’s seeking to make amends and I think that’s a very good thing. 

‘But you can’t tell people how they’re to respond about this. And the issues of the past in the area of abuse are so intensely personal and private for so many people. 

‘It’s not surprising. There’s very deep feelings, indeed.’ 

Earlier, the Archbishop remarked that he did not ‘do pastoral stuff in public’, suggesting the Duke may have consulted him privately. 

The Archbishop also defended the Queen’s decision to walk with her second son at Prince Philip’s memorial service in March, saying she was ‘fully entitled’ to do so.

After the interview aired, the Archbishop was forced to clarify his comments. 

A spokesman said: ‘In his ITV News interview the Archbishop was not referring specifically to Prince Andrew when he said we must become a more forgiving society. He was making a broader point about the kind of society that he hopes the Platinum Jubilee inspires us to be.’


The comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury, pictured, came days before the start of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations

In a personal statement, the Archbishop added: ‘In tonight’s interview with ITV News, I was asked a question about forgiveness, and I said that there is a difference between consequences and forgiveness. Both are essential elements of the Christian understanding of justice, mercy and reconciliation.

‘I also made the broader point that I hope we can become a more forgiving society. These are complex issues that are difficult to address in a short media interview and I hope they do not distract from this week’s joyful celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.’

In the interview, the Archbishop was also asked about the rift between Prince William and Harry. ‘It’s sad when families are struggling, but what family isn’t?’ he said.

‘Jesus says, anyone who’s never sinned cast the first stone, and they all go away… I think if there’s any family where the relationships are perfect, they’re entitled to judge, but I’m not going to.’ 

The Archbishop himself, who had been due to preach at the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, has pulled out while he deals with Covid and pneumonia. 

He was also asked about the rift between brothers the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

‘Of course, it’s sad when families are struggling, but what family, isn’t?’ he said.

‘Jesus says, anyone who’s never sinned cast the first stone, and they all go away… I think if there’s any family where the relationships are perfect, they’re entitled to judge, but I’m not going to.’ 

The intervention by the Archbishop comes days before the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, during which Prince Andrew will not be as visible alongside other senior Royals. 

Despite this, Andrew took a front and centre role in escorting his mother to Philip’s memorial service in March. 

This was a surprising change to the planned arrangements, as only weeks earlier he had been banished from royal public life and paid to settle his court case. 

The 62-year-old will also take part in the ceremony at Windsor Castle on June 13 alongside other senior royals for what is one of the most important ceremonies in the Royal calendar.

His name will also appear in the next day’s Court Circular, and will attend Garter Day ceremonies as a Royal Knight.

The annual iconic Garter Day procession, where The Queen and the Knights process in grand velvet robes, glistening insignia and plumed hats, is one of the most traditional ceremonies in the Queen’s calendar.

The Queen is sovereign of the Order and appoints Knights of the Garter without input from ministers, meaning that Prince Andrew’s appointment was considered as private.

There are now fears Andrew’s attendance at Garter Day celebrations could overshadow the event, especially after he was said to have agreed to step back from public life following the conclusion of the case.

Andrew is expected to appear alongside the Queen for Garter Day at Windsor Castle on June 13 despite the fallout of his sex abuse scandal and ties to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein (The Queen and Prince Andrew pictured 2019 at Trooping The Colour)

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, center right, arrive for a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London, Tuesday, March 29, 2022

It comes after Prince Andrew signed a £12 million settlement ensuring claims by Virginia Giuffre that he had sex with her when she was 17 years old would not go to trial. This settlement was not an admission of liability,

Andrew denied these allegations publicly, including taking part in a now-infamous interview with Emily Maitlis during which he claimed to have been at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night in question.

It comes after a source revealed last week that the disgraced Prince is working overtime to try and win back the trust of the Queen.

Speaking to The Mirror, they said he had been visiting his mother everyday in the build-up to the Jubilee celebrations. 

They said: ‘He wants to make it up to the Queen which is why he is doing all he can to see her as much as possible.

‘The rest of the family, apart from Her Majesty, are united in feeling that he should stay out of the limelight and keep quiet having left such a stain on the family.’

The Prince has already been stripped of his royal patronages and honorary military titles.

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