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article imagePrince Andrew to step down as trade envoy

By Lynn Curwin     Jul 22, 2011 in World
London - Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Andrew will step down as trade envoy for the UK, although he will continue to support business and will take part in trade engagements if requested.
Andrew, who is 51, held the unpaid job as the government's special representative for international trade and investment since 2001.
"The role as Special Representative will no longer exist as the Duke of York has decided to relinquish it after 10 years," The Independent quoted a spokeswoman for the royal family as saying.
There were calls for him to step down in March, after his association with Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy US businessman jailed in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution, became widely known. He has known the businessman for year, and last December last December he spent four days as Epstein's guest in New York.
Epstein also provided Sarah Ferguson with £15,000 to help pay her debts last year.
"In the four months since these facts became public, royal and government officials have been grappling with the challenge of what to do with the Duke of York," said the BBC's royal correspondent Peter Hunt.
His judgement was questioned in relation to his links with family members of foreign dictators, and some people felt his official trips were too lavish.
Digby Jones, a former trade minister who is now a business ambassador at UKTI (UK Trade & Investment), spoke about the change in Andrew's role.
"There will be a bit less travelling and a lot more working with apprenticeships and with young people in Britain to get them skilled up to make the stuff we can sell around the world," Yahoo News quoted him as saying.
"It's the next natural step from what he's been doing.
"Let's use what he can do to actually create some profit, employ some people, pay some tax and get ourselves out of this mess," he said, referring to Britain's record deficit."
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