Prince Andrew: Royal Portrush Golf Club to review its link with patron
Royal Portrush Golf Club has said it will review its relationship with patron Prince Andrew amid growing concerns over his relationship with disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein.
A ‘car crash’ television interview with the Queen’s second son provoked a backlash over his perceived lack of empathy with sex-offender Epstein’s victims – and claims he was less than candid about his visits to Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
Royal Portrush issued a statement today saying the club would monitor the investigative process, but the host of this year’s Open Championship said the Duke of York was not due to visit the club in the foreseeable future.
“The allegations surrounding Prince Andrew, and especially the trauma and distress suffered by the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, is a matter of deep regret,” the statement said.
“Royal Portrush will continue to monitor the ongoing investigative process. There are no scheduled plans for him to return to the club.”
The statement added: “The council of Royal Portrush is acutely aware of the widespread public concern about these allegations and Prince Andrew’s decision to step away from public duties will be discussed at our next meeting.”
Another title held by the Duke is Baron Killyleagh and it would appear the town’s citizens are in no rush to cut their Royal ties.
Rowallane DUP councillor William Walker said Killyleagh people have always been “proud of the links” with Prince Andrew and that he hasn’t heard anyone say otherwise in recent weeks.
“I am out on the ground in the town and it hasn’t been raised by anyone. I think people think it is a private matter,” he said.
Mr Walker said the peerage bestowed on the senior Royal in July 1986 – on the day the prince married Sarah Ferguson – helped to “put Killyleagh on the map”.
He said: “The people of Killyleagh at the time were very proud of the links and no one has said anything to me since this started.
“He has visited the town on three or four occasions. I would say people would have no problem welcoming him back.”
The duke is patron of almost 200 charities, organisations, golf clubs and societies across the UK, including Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle.
In response to a News Letter inquiry about the duke’s honorary position, a spokesperson at Royal County Down said the secretary would not be available for comment until next week.