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Andrew ‘seeking to make amends’ as Archbishop urges nation to be more forgiving

The Duke of York stepped down from public life and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case out of court.

31 May 2022

The Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested the disgraced Duke of York is “seeking to make amends” as he urged the nation to be more forgiving.

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to a woman he claimed never to have met.

He was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style after Virginia Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexual assaulting her when she was 17. The duke denied the claims.

The Most Revd Justin Welby, in an interview with ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, called on people “to step back a bit” and said the Queen’s second son was seeking to make amends, adding: “I think that’s a very good thing.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Holy Week engagements
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Gareth Fuller/PA)

But 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”.

The Archbishop is no longer delivering the Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s on Friday as he has Covid.

On whether the nation should forgive Andrew, the Archbishop cited the Duke of Edinburgh’s thanksgiving service, saying: “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.”

Emily Maitlis interview
The Duke of York in his car-crash interview with Newsnight (BBC/PA)

Andrew took a front and centre role in escorting his mother to Philip’s memorial service in March. This was a surprising change to the planned arrangements, as only weeks earlier he had been banished from royal public life and paid to settle his court case.

In the wide-ranging interview, the Archbishop was also asked about the rift between brothers the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

“Of course, it’s sad when families are struggling, but what family, isn’t?” he said.

“Jesus says, anyone who’s never sinned cast the first stone, and they all go away… I think if there’s any family where the relationships are perfect, they’re entitled to judge, but I’m not going to.”

The interview will air on Tuesday evening as part of the ITV’s News at Ten bulletin.

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