Prince Andrew arrives in Northern Ireland to host his own golf tournament after his official royal engagements were cancelled amid Jeffrey Epstein ......
Sept. 09, 2019
The Duke of York travelled to Northern Ireland today to carry out official duties at a golf tournament.
Prince Andrew attended the Royal Portrush Golf Course in County Antrim this morning in his role as founder of The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy.
The tournament, which was founded in 2001, takes place between today and Thursday. It is an international competition for boys and girls under 18, with big name players taking part in the past including Rory McIlroy.
It follows two public appearances by the 59-year-old royal at the weekend, attending at a tournament at Royal Liverpool Golf Club to mark its 150th anniversary.
The Duke, who is a patron of the club, watched amateur golfers from the US and Britain and Northern Ireland battle it out in the Walker Cup Tournament on Sunday.
Today is Andrew's third public engagement in as many days, after he travelled to Bruges on Saturday to mark the 75th anniversary since the liberation of the Belgian city by the Allies.
The Duke was present in his role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards and laid a wreath at the Bruges Charles II memorial.
Saturday's trip to Bruges was Andrew's first major international event since the scandal broke over his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein was found hanged in his cell on August 10 in New York while facing fresh charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to traffic minors for sex.
Andrew has been dogged by allegations of impropriety with underage girls introduced to him by Epstein.
Buckingham Palace has issued strong denials in response to claims from a woman who said she was forced to have under-age sex with the duke.
Virginia Roberts alleged in court papers in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.
The palace has called the allegations 'false and without any foundation', saying 'any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors' by the duke was 'categorically untrue'.
In 2015, a judge ruled that Miss Roberts's allegations about Andrew were 'immaterial and impertinent' and ordered them to be struck out of a claim against Epstein.
Andrew said in a statement on August 24: 'At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to [Epstein's] arrest and conviction.'
Andrew went on a two-week golfing holiday in Spain last month with his former wife Sarah Ferguson. His last official engagement before that was at Ascot in July.
Since then, he has largely kept out of the spotlight as allegations over his association with Epstein have intensified. In 2008 Epstein was jailed for procuring a girl under the age of 18 for prostitution.
Royal sources last month that Andrew was due to hold 'crisis talks' with advisers over how to handle the scandal.
During his absence, Miss Roberts urged him to 'come clean'. After a New York court hearing last month, the woman, now 36, said of the prince: 'He knows what he's done.'
Last week it was claimed that Andrew was battling to avoid becoming a pariah after having public engagements cancelled amid the fallout over his links to Epstein.
Some of the Duke of York's planned official visits this week were said to have been axed by organisers apparently fearful his presence could taint their events.
Andrew had been due to see a refurbished railway station in Northern Ireland, but in the wake of the Epstein scandal the hosts reportedly withdrew the invitation.
A royal spokesman said the duke had a full schedule including attending a youth golf tournament that bears his name.
Speaking about today, a spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: 'His Royal Highness will undertake a number of engagements related to the tournament, at which there will be 66 sportsmen and women from 35 countries.
'The duke will meet volunteers, supporters and representatives from local businesses, host the tournament dinner, attend the tournament and present prizes.'
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