Prince Andrew quits as chancellor of Huddersfield University after student-led campaign

Samuel Osborne

Prince Andrew is stepping down from his role as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield following a student-led campaign to unseat him.

The university confirmed he would be stepping down immediately “to allow the university to appoint a successor” following the controversy over his links with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

It comes after the Duke of York announced he would be stepping back from public duties in the wake of a BBC interview he gave about his ties with Epstein.

In a statement, Huddersfield University Students’ Union said: “This morning, we’ve received confirmation from the university that the duke has stepped down from his position with immediate effect to allow the university to appoint a new chancellor.

“We know that students will welcome this decision, and the Students’ Union would like to offer our sympathy to the victims of Epstein and all those affected by sexual abuse across the world.”

Huddersfield students had given unanimous support for a motion stating the university should not be represented by “a man with ties to organised child sexual exploitation and assault”.

Since the interview on Saturday, students have called for the prince to step down on Twitter using the hashtag #notmychancellor.

Pressure has been mounting in the days since the interview, with firms including BT and Barclays among a number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities that have distanced themselves from Andrew.

Graham Smith, of campaign group Republic, a grassroots movement calling for an elected head of state, said: “Prince Andrew’s decision to step back is more smoke and mirrors to protect the image of the monarchy.

“It’s been reported he will remain patron of many organisations and continue his involvement in PitchPalace.

“Several years ago Andrew was stripped of his trade ambassador title, but then continued to fly around the world representing this country.

“The palace needs to clarify exactly what they mean by him stepping back and explain why he isn’t stepping down.

“Otherwise, this just looks like more spin to cover royal backs than real accountability.

“This whole episode shows why the monarchy is not fit for purpose. Andrew is the worst example of a long tradition of bad behaviour. We need a democratic alternative to the monarchy sooner rather than later.”

Buckingham Palace said the prince would continue to working on his flagship project for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, PitchPalace, privately without the support of the palace.

The Duke of York has faced a growing backlash following a BBC interview about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein (PA)

However, a source close to the sponsor of the initiative told the Press Association the plan was “not tenable”.

“To say you’re stepping back from public life but then carry on is not a tenable position by the palace, and I think the sponsor shares that view,” the source said.

“We really want the programme to continue and succeed, because it’s a valuable programme, but if it’s going to continue to have reputational problems then we’ll have to walk away from our contract.”

Announcing he was stepping away from public duties on Wednesday, Andrew said it had become clear to him in recent days that his association with the late convicted sex offender had become a “major distraction” to the royal family’s work.

The prince said he regrets his association with Epstein and “deeply sympathises” with his victims.

He also said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required” over the Epstein probe.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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