Archbishop of Canterbury says Prince Andrew ‘seeking to make amends’

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PRINCE ANDREW is “seeking to make amends” having settled his civil sexual assault lawsuit, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The Duke of York in March agreed to pay a multimillion-pound sum with no admission of liability to bring the civil sexual assault case brought by his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, to a close. The settlement, while preventing a courtroom battle in New York, did not save the prince’s reputation – but the Most Revd Justin Welby, in an interview in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with News At Ten presenter Tom Bradby, said “we have become a very unforgiving society” and “we all have to step back a bit”.

The Archbishop said: “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.”

Mr Welby made the comments when questioned whether the upcoming celebrations of the Queen’s 70-year reign offered the public the chance to unite and forgive Prince Andrew, who has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

The Archbishop said he recognised “there’s very deep feelings indeed” with issues of abuse “intensely personal and private” and it wasn’t right to “tell people how they’re to respond about this”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Prince Andrew

The Duke of York is ‘seeking to make amends’, the Archbishop of Canterbury says (Image: Getty)

Andrew, 62, was stripped of his military titles in January in the face of the legal battle over accusations by Ms Giuffre, 38.

As part of the settlement, which is not an admission of guilt from Andrew, the duke vowed to “demonstrate his regret for his association” with Jeffrey Epstein by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”.

The 95-year-old monarch last month attended a memorial service for her late husband Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey accompanied by Andrew.

The Queen and Andrew at Philip's memorial

The Queen and Prince Andrew at Prince Philip’s memorial (Image: Getty)

The move, which was widely regarded as a show of support from Her Majesty to her son, sparked mixed reactions among Brits.

The Archbishop, describing the Queen as “probably the most trusted person in the country”, said that despite public criticism she was “fully entitled” to have attended the event with the duke.

Mr Welby praised the monarch as he spoke of the death of her father and her subsequent coronation.

He said: “If we go back, 1952 was a pretty rough time for a very large number of people.

“We were in the middle of the Korean War, the cold war was reaching its most intense period, people were very anxious about nuclear warfare.

“The Queen has gone from that moment to this moment as the one point of absolute consistency in the life of the nation and that is, I think, it’s a golden thread that runs through 70 years.

“And to celebrate that is a great thing. I think it will lift people’s spirits.”

All of the queen’s cousins, children and grandchildren are due to attend the Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, June 3, for what will be the biggest royal outing of the bank holiday weekend.

The Trooping The Colour balcony appearance, meanwhile, has been limited to working members of the Royal Family, meaning means the Duke of York as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped back from their royal duties in 2019, will not be there.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.

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