Prince Andrew “is trying to make amends”, says Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged people to “step back a bit” over the Prince Andrew sex scandal (Image: Getty Images/REX)

Archbishop of Canterbury says disgraced Duke of York is “trying to make amends” and urges nation to be more lenient.

Andrew resigned from public life following the uproar surrounding his friendship with pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

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

He no longer uses his HRH style and has been stripped of his military titles and royal patronage as the scandal brought much 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 has consistently denied.

In an interview with ITV News presenter Tom Bradby, Most Rev Justin Welby urged people to “step back a bit”.

The Archbishop said the Queen’s second son wanted to make amends, adding: “I think that’s a very good thing.”

But he stressed that he couldn’t tell people how to respond, saying that “the issues of the past in the area of ​​abuse are so personal and private for so many.”

FILE - Britain's Prince Andrew appears at the Royal Chapel in Windsor following the death announcement of his father Prince Philip in England on April 11, 2021. Prince Andrew has lost another ceremonial honor as groups across Britain cut ties with the king, who has been disgraced by allegations of sexual misconduct. Councilors in the northern city of York voted unanimously to strip the prince of Freeman of the City status on Wednesday evening, April 27, 2022. The honor was bestowed upon Andrew in 1987 after Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him Duke of York. (Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP, file)

Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronage in the civil sex abuse case (Image: AP)

**FREE IMAGE** Virginia Roberts photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001. Collect a picture of Virginia Roberts. Court affidavit photo: (L) Virgina Roberts aged 17 at Ghislaine Maxwell's town house in London. The photo was developed on March 13, 2001 when she was 17 years old. Miss Roberts has filed a lawsuit against (L) Prince Andrew, (R) Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. Miss Roberts, now 31, has filed a criminal lawsuit in Florida alleging she had underage sex with Prince Andrew and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein

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

The archbishop will no longer preach at the Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday after testing positive for Covid.

Asked how the public should react to Andrew following his appearance at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, Mr Welby said: “On a major public occasion, the Queen has every right to be assisted by one of her children.

“Second, forgiveness is really important. I think we’ve become a very, very unforgiving society. There is a difference between consequences and forgiveness.

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

“Well, with Prince Andrew, I think we all need to step back a bit. He’s trying to make amends, and I think that’s a very good thing.

“But you can’t tell people how to react to it. And the abuse issues of the past are so personal and private to so many people. It is not surprising that there are indeed very deep feelings.

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, UK - 4 February 2013

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

Andrew played a central role in accompanying his mother to Philip’s memorial service in March.

There was a surprise change in the proposed arrangements – just weeks before he had been banned from public life by the king and paid to settle his court case.

The move was taken as a sign of the monarch’s support for her son and a sign that Andrew was trying to push himself back into the limelight.

The archbishop later released a statement to clarify his comments, saying he hoped they would not distract from the anniversary celebrations.

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

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

“I also said in general that I hope we can become a more forgiving society. These are complex issues that are difficult to address in a brief media interview and I hope they do not detract from this week’s joyful celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.’

A spokesman for the Archbishop said he was not specifically referring to the Duke when he spoke of a forgiving society.

“He made a more general point about the kind of society he hopes the Platinum Jubilee will inspire for us,” the rep said.

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Justin Scacco

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