Prince Andrew cancels Middle East trip for Pitch@Palace

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Prince Andrew has been forced to cancel a trip to Bahrain as the fallout over his friendship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein deepends, it is reported.

The Duke of York was set to travel to the Middle East this weekend to push his Pitch@Palace tech startup initiative.

Read more: Bosch cuts ties with Pitch@Palace after Duke opts to stay on

However, he has apparently pulled out of the visit amid pressure from the royals. Meanwhile his private secretary, Amanda Thirsk, has lost her role at the palace to become chief executive of the tech entrepreneur scheme instead.

Thirsk was an advocate of Prince Andrew’s BBC Newsnight interview that triggered a backlash that is still causing shockwaves in the royal family, according to the Daily Mail.

But the prince will remain associated with Pitch@Palace despite sponsors quitting the scheme in their droves.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said Andrew will continue working with Pitch@Palace “outside and entirely separate from the palace”.

The Duke, who permanently quit royal duties on Wednesday, is not expected to be involved with any of the other charities and organisations he has supported in the past.

His alleged victim’s lawyer has called the prince’s removal from official duties a “positive first step” but added that it was based on “only a half truth”.

David Boies, a lawyer for the Duke’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said: “Prince Andrew’s recent interview and his subsequent action to withdraw from public life is welcome news. It is a positive first step towards taking responsibility for his actions.

“However, basing his decision to step away from his duties due to his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is only a half truth.

“He clearly had a long-term association with Ghislaine Maxwell who we maintain was Epstein’s co-conspirator and played a central role in devastating the lives of countless women.”

Read more: Entrepreneurs back Pitch@Palace but pressure mounts on Prince Andrew

Virginia Roberts Giuffre has claimed she was forced to have sex three times with the Duke when she was 17.

During his Newsnight interview, Andrew said he did not recall meeting Roberts Giuffre.

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