Prince Andrew is ‘trying to make amends’, Archbishop of Canterbury says

The Archbishop of Canterbury urged people to ‘step back a bit’ over the Prince Andrew sex scandal (Picture: Getty Images/REX)

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the disgraced Duke of York is ‘seeking to make amends’ and urges the nation to be more forgiving.

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

He paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to a woman he claimed never to have met.

He no longer uses his HRH style and was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages as the scandal brought a great deal of shame on his family.

Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein, accused Andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was 17, which the duke continually denied.

In an interview with ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, the Most Rev Justin Welby called on people ‘to step back a bit’.

The archbishop said the Queen’s second son was seeking to make amends, adding: ‘I think that’s a very good thing.’

However, he stressed that he could not tell people how to respond, saying the ‘issues of the past in the area of abuse are so intensely personal and private for so many’.

FILE - Britain's Prince Andrew appears at the Royal Chapel at Windsor, following the death announcement of his father Prince Philip, April 11, 2021, in England. Prince Andrew has lost another ceremonial honor as groups throughout Britain cut ties to the royal disgraced by allegations of sexual misconduct. Councilors in the northern city of York on Wednesday night, April 27, 2022 voted unanimously to withdraw the prince???s status as a ???freeman of the city.??? The honor was awarded to Andrew in 1987 after Queen Elizabeth II made him the Duke of York. (Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages amid the civil sex abuse case (Picture: AP)

**FREE IMAGE** Virginia Roberts photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001. Collect picture from Virginia Roberts. Court affidavit photo: (L) Virgina Roberts aged 17 at Ghislaine Maxwell's townhouse in London. The photo was developed in March 13, 2001 when she was 17. Miss Roberts has filed a legal case against (L) Prince Andrew, (R) Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. Miss Roberts now 31, has filed a criminal lawsuit in Florida claiming that she had under-aged sex with Prince Andrew and Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew ended up paying a large settlement to Virginia Roberts Giuffre (pictured aged 17) after claimig he’d never met her (Picture: Virginia Roberts)

The archbishop is no longer delivering the sermon at the Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday after he tested positive for Covid.

Asked how the public should respond to Andrew after his appearance at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, Mr Welby said: ‘At a big public occasion the Queen is fully entitled to have one of her children supporting her.

‘Secondly, forgiveness really does matter. I think we have become a very, very unforgiving society. There’s a difference between consequences and forgiveness.

‘I think for all of us, one of the ways that we celebrate when we come together is in learning to be a more open and forgiving society.

‘Now, with Prince Andrew, I think we all have to step back a bit. He’s seeking to make amends and I think that’s a very good thing.

‘But you can’t tell people how they’re to respond about this. And the issues of the past in the area of abuse are so intensely personal and private for so many people. It’s not surprising there’s very deep feelings indeed.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tim Rooke/Shutterstock (2111932q) Justin Welby Justin Welby Confirmation of Election as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, St Paul's Cathedral, London, Britain - 04 Feb 2013

Justin Welby has since tried to clarify his comments (Picture: Shutterstock)

Andrew took a central role in escorting his mother to Philip’s memorial service in March.

It came as a surprise change to the planned arrangements – only weeks earlier he had been banished from royal public life and paid to settle his court case.

The move was taken as a sign of the monarch’s support for her son, and of Andrew trying to worm his way back into the spotlight.

The archbishop later released a statement in a bid to clarify his comments and said he hoped they would not distract from the Jubilee celebrations.

He said: ‘In tonight’s interview with ITV News I was asked a question about forgiveness, and I said that there is a difference between consequences and forgiveness.

‘Both are essential elements of the Christian understanding of justice, mercy and reconciliation.

‘I also made the broader point that I hope we can become a more forgiving society. These are complex issues that are difficult to address in a short media interview and I hope they do not distract from this week’s joyful celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.’

A spokesperson for the archbishop said he was not referring specifically to the duke when talking about a forgiving society.

‘He was making a broader point about the kind of society that he hopes the Platinum Jubilee inspires us to be,’ the spokesperson said.

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