London: Prince Andrew on Wednesday said he was cancelling his public engagements, as the outcry from the British royal's friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein showed no sign of abating.
Queen Elizabeth II's second son has been under pressure since a television interview broadcast Saturday in which he defended his links to the disgraced financier, who was found dead in prison in August.
An increasing number of organisations and initiatives backed by Andrew have said they were not renewing or would review their support because of the revelations.
Andrew, 59, said in an emailed statement he now recognised his links to Epstein had become a "major disruption" to the royal family and the charities and organisations associated with it.
"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty (the Queen) if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission," he added.
"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
"His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
"I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."