Prince Andrew on Wednesday said he was cancelling his public engagements, as the outcry over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein showed no sign of abating.
Queen Elizabeth II's second son has been under pressure since a television interview broadcast Saturday in which he defended his links to the disgraced financier, who was found dead in a New York prison in August.
An increasing number of organizations and initiatives backed by Andrew have said they were not renewing or would review their support because of the revelations.
Andrew, 59, said in an emailed statement he now recognized his links to Epstein had become a major disruption to the royal family and the charities and organizations associated with it.
”Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty (the Queen) if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission, he added.
I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
British telecoms giant BT earlier on Wednesday threatened to end its backing for an awards scheme unless the royal was dropped as patron.
Since the interview aired, the prince has been accused of lacking empathy for Epstein's victims. Racist comments he made in the past have also been raised and there have been questions about his lavish taxpayer-funded lifestyle.
Several UK-based businesses, including Standard Chartered and KPMG, have already announced they will not renew their support for the Pitch@Palace initiative.
London Metropolitan University was among others to say it would review the position of Andrew as its patron at its board of governors meeting next week.