The embattled Royal has faced a storm of controversy since a TV interview at the weekend that some have dubbed a "car crash" for its apparent insensitivity and judgement.
Standard Chartered and KPMG, both familiar names in the wealth management arena, have cut ties with the UK’s Prince Andrew. The moves came after he gave what has been branded a “car crash” television interview about his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Yesterday (21 November) Prince Andrew announced he was withdrawing from public duties.
A report in the Sun newspaper said that UK-listed Standard Chartered – which earns most of its revenues outside the UK and is also a sponsor of organisations such as Liverpool FC – will no longer be a partner to Prince Andrew’s start-up project Pitch@Palace.
“We can confirm we are not renewing our sponsorship of Pitch@Palace for commercial reasons, once our current agreement terminates in December,” Standard Chartered told WealthBriefing in a statement. KPMG, which has also reportedly withdrawn from the international business platform, declined to comment.
On the official website of the Royal Family, the Pitch@Palace organisation is described as follows: “His Royal Highness supports the individuals and organisations which are working to keep the UK a global economic leader. In the field of education, The Duke is committed to supporting a wide range of options for students, including vocational learning to ensure that young people develop relevant skills to allow them to become economically active.”
It continues: “The Duke believes that entrepreneurs will create economic growth and more jobs in the future, and he supports initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship. The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace – an annual event at which budding entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a roomful of potential supporters from the business community – with this aim in mind.”
The website did not refer to the latest controversy or mention if firms had withdrawn from it. Prince Andrew founded the organisation in 2014.
The royal gave an interview on the BBC Newsnight programme in which he denied criminal wrongdoing. Prince Andrew faces renewed calls to tell US authorities about his connections with US financier Epstein - who, at the age of 66, was found dead in his prison cell on 10 August this year. He had been awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges and had been put on suicide watch. US authorities are continuing to investigate the circumstances of his death. Epstein had friendships with people such as Bill Clinton, former US president.
The duke has been facing questions over his ties to Epstein for several years.
The way that various firms have severed ties with Prince Andrew is an example of how organisations’ reputational management has to move rapidly. In the past, businesses have been keen to play up Royal connections but the latest episode shows that this is not always the case.