Prince Andrew has ‘long-term plan’ to ensure Duke can return to frontline royal duties

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Royal commentators have expressed their disbelief at reports Prince Andrew may be trying to make a comeback to public life. The Duke of York stepped back from royal duties for the “foreseeable future” near the end of 2019 following backlash to a BBC interview where he broke his silence over his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. ITV Royal Rota podcast hosts Chris Ship and Lizzie Robinson discussed what it would take for the Queen to accept her son back into the official working fold.

Mr Ship told listeners: “I had a conversation with somebody very close to Prince Andrew. I get the impression they have got this long-term plan.

“In order for that to happen, for example, there would have to be, as they put it, a resolution of the legal process.

“Total exoneration on his part and his side of the story properly given.

“Although I’m sure they’ll think twice about what kind of interview he should do next time. Then, as they put it, a ‘re-framing of his duties’.”

He continued: “I kind of think it’s probably a bit too early for that given that Ghislaine Maxwell hasn’t even had her trial yet.

“Also given that the FBI and Prince Andrew, as far as we know, still haven’t spoken.

“It is, I thought, perhaps not that right move to make at the moment.

“To talk about Andrew coming back to royal duties when this thing is still very much in the centre of the storm.”

Ms Robinson told listeners: “Interesting that they say they want there to be a resolution.

“There seems to be this stalemate – the FBI want to talk to him, his team claim that he’s happy to talk to them.

“How those conversations happen, is that where the sticking blockers come?”

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She added: “But until that conversation happens this isn’t going to go away for him.

“I think there’s absolutely no way that him, his circle or the Queen could consider staging a comeback.”

Prince Andrew has confirmed he is willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required”.

US authorities claim to have contacted the royal to no avail.

The Duke’s lawyers say they twice contacted the US Department of Justice in September but received no response.

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