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Royal Hospital School removes Prince Andrew role from website

PUBLISHED: 11:33 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:53 26 November 2019

Prince Andrew visiting The Royal Hospital School in June 2013  Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

Prince Andrew visiting The Royal Hospital School in June 2013 Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

A question mark hangs over the future of Prince Andrew the Duke of York remaining as royal patron of Suffolk's prestigious Royal Hospital School.

The Royal Hospital School website listing Prince Andrew as Official Visitor  Picture: ARCHANTThe Royal Hospital School website listing Prince Andrew as Official Visitor Picture: ARCHANT

The Duke is 'Official Visitor' to the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook - a largely ceremonial role representing the Monarch - but this has now been removed from the school website.

Whether a new appointment will now be made remains unclear but in a statement the school said today: "It has been confirmed by the palace that the Duke of York is withdrawing from public duties and therefore he is not expected to conduct any further visits in his capacity as Official Visitor to the Royal Hospital School."

The Queen's second son has been engulfed in controversy over his friendship with US billionaire financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein died in prison in August while facing federal charges over sex trafficking of minors, and who had previously served a jail sentence for procuring an underage girl for prostitution.

The Royal Hospital School website as of Tuesday November 26 with the Duke of York's role as Official Visitor removed  Picture: ARCHANTThe Royal Hospital School website as of Tuesday November 26 with the Duke of York's role as Official Visitor removed Picture: ARCHANT

The Duke has faced a huge backlash from his interview with the BBC on November 16 about his relationship with Epstein.

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It resulted in him stepping back from public life and saw a number of high-profile sponsors, including KPMG and Barclays, withdrew support for his Pitch@Palace initiative to support business entrepreneurs.

He has also stood down from public roles including patron to London Metropolitan University, educational charity the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Prince Andrew visiting The Royal Hospital School in June 2013 Picture: MIKE KWASNIAKPrince Andrew visiting The Royal Hospital School in June 2013 Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

The Duke had been Official Visitor to the RHS since 2002 following the death of his grandmother the Queen Mother who previously held the position.

The school is owned by the Crown naval charity Greenwich Hospital and as an independent boarding and day school for 11 to 18 year olds has strong links with the Royal Navy, in which many of its parents serve.

It was originally at what is now the National Maritime Museum in London and relocated to Holbrook in 1933.

The Duke had a distinguished naval career, joining in 1979 and serving as a helicopter pilot during the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina. He retired from active service in 2001.

Maritime tradition plays an important part of school life and pupils are issued naval uniforms for ceremonial and formal events.

The Duke last visited in June 2018 to commemorate the school carrying a colour for 100 years. He inspected a guard and band and took the salute.

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