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Prince Andrew to 'step back' from two Norfolk patronages

PUBLISHED: 17:15 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 22 November 2019

Royal Norwich Golf Club that was granted its royal status in 1936. Prince Andrew visiting the club in its centenary year 1993. Photo: Steve Adams

Royal Norwich Golf Club that was granted its royal status in 1936. Prince Andrew visiting the club in its centenary year 1993. Photo: Steve Adams

Under-fire royal Prince Andrew is to step down from his patronages at two Norwich golf clubs.

Royal Norwich Golf Club that was granted its royal status in 1936. Prince Andrew visiting the club in its centenary year 1993. Photo: Steve AdamsRoyal Norwich Golf Club that was granted its royal status in 1936. Prince Andrew visiting the club in its centenary year 1993. Photo: Steve Adams

The Duke of York is resigning from 200 charities and other organisation after announcing he is to step down from public life.

The news comes after the prince was quizzed by the BBC over his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, prompting a storm of criticism.

The prince will no longer be patron at the Royal Norwich Golf Club, which he has supported since 2013 and Hunstanton Golf Club, which he has been a patron of since 1996.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Duke has stepped back from his public duties and patronages. We do not expect him to be undertaking any activity in support of the patronages during this period."

Royal Norwich Golf Club that was granted its royal status in 1936. Photo: Steve AdamsRoyal Norwich Golf Club that was granted its royal status in 1936. Photo: Steve Adams

The prince announced on November 20 that he was "stepping back from public duties for the foreseeable future" following links to Epstein, which he said had become a "major disruption" to the royal family.

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One of Mr Epstein's accusers, Virginia Giuffre has claimed she was forced to have sex with the duke three times. The prince has always denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

In 2013, members of the Royal Norwich Golf Club celebrated after the prince became a patron in its 125th anniversary.

File photo dated 22/1/2015 of the Duke of York who announced he would step down from public duties for the File photo dated 22/1/2015 of the Duke of York who announced he would step down from public duties for the "foreseeable future".

Then general manager Phil Grice said: "It's a lovely, lovely accolade. We've been a royal club for more than 100 years or so and for us to have it enhanced by Prince Andrew by him agreeing to be the patron of the club is fantastic."

But a spokesman for Royal Norwich Golf Club, which recently moved from Hellesdon to Weston Longville, said today: "We are currently in dialogue with the Palace regarding Prince Andrew's patronage of the organisation as we recognise his decision to step back from public life and the seriousness of the wider issues surrounding recent events."

The club will keep the 'royal' name despite the prince's disassociation, as it was granted its royal status in 1936.

He became a patron of Hunstanton golf club in 1996 and faced controversy for using official helicopters to attend golf parties and games.

Hunstanton Golf Club refused to comment.

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