Prince Andrew: Private secretary Amanda Thirsk moves to new role – BBC News


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Amanda Thirsk with Prince Andrew

The woman who organised the Duke of York’s interview with the BBC is no longer his private secretary after the royal withdrew from public duties.

Amanda Thirsk, who has worked for the duke since 2012, will become chief executive of his business mentoring scheme, Pitch@Palace.

The move comes as further organisations announced their association with the prince had ended.

Buckingham Palace said it did not comment on those in the duke’s team.

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the decision to move Ms Thirsk into her new role was part of a “downscaling” of the duke’s office.

It is unclear what the duke’s role at Pitch@Palace will be moving forwards.

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Prince Andrew was pictured horse riding with the Queen on Friday

On Wednesday, Prince Andrew explained he had decided to step down from his royal duties for the “foreseeable future”.

It came after a growing backlash following a BBC Newsnight interview about the duke’s friendship with convicted US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, has claimed she was forced to have sex with the duke three times. Prince Andrew has “categorically” denied having any sexual contact with her.

Ms Giuffre will reveal further details about her time with Epstein in her first UK interview with BBC Panorama on Monday 2 December.

Newsnight producer Sam McAlister, who has been credited with securing the interview for the BBC, said Ms Thirsk was the person she was “mostly dealing with” during the negotiation process.

She told GQ magazine she was “extremely charming, well-informed, thorough and brilliant”.

According to Ms Thirsk’s LinkedIn page, she has been a director of Pitch@Palace, which provides start-up firms with advice and contacts but no funding, since 2014.

BBC News has approached Pitch@Palace for comment about her new role.

The BBC understands there are no plans to recruit a new private secretary for Prince Andrew.

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Media captionPrince Andrew: Epstein ‘a constant sore in the family’

The duke was photographed horse riding with the Queen in the grounds of Windsor Castle on Friday.

The decision to step back from royal duties came amid growing pressure from his critics.

Businesses, charities and other institutions have been cutting their ties with the prince in the wake of his announcement and the BBC interview.

On Friday, the English National Ballet, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Metropolitan University all announced the prince would no longer be their patron, with immediate effect.

And Barclays – which had already distanced itself from the prince – said it will “regretfully, no longer be participating” in Pitch@Palace.

Lawyers representing Epstein’s accusers have also urged the prince to speak to US authorities about his former friendship with Epstein.

In his statement announcing that he would be stepping back from royal duties, the prince said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

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