The archbishop of Canterbury feels that the public needs to be more “open” to Prince Andrew as the royal attempts to “make amends” months after he reached a settlement in a sexual abuse lawsuit against him.
In an interview with ITV News, archbishop Justin Welby was asked by News At Ten presenter Tom Bradby if Queen Elizabeth‘s upcoming Platinum Jubilee might provide the opportunity for the Duke of York to begin repairing his relationship with the British public. Welby replied that while he understands that “there’s very deep feelings indeed” surrounding these “intensely personal and private” matters of abuse and no one has any right to “tell people how they’re to respond about this.” However, he noted that “we have become a very unforgiving society.” Welby said, “We all have to step back a bit, he is seeking to make amends and I think that’s a very good thing,” adding that, despite public criticism, Queen Elizabeth was “fully entitled” to ask Prince Andrew to accompany her to her late husband Prince Philip’s memorial service in March.
Following that interview, the archbishop said in a statement to the New York Post that he “was asked a question about forgiveness, and I said that there is a difference between consequences and forgiveness. Both are essential elements of the Christian understanding of justice, mercy and reconciliation. I also made the broader point that I hope we can become a more forgiving society.” He continued, “These are complex issues that are difficult to address in a short media interview and I hope they do not distract from this week’s joyful celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”
While Prince Andrew has always vehemently denied the allegations against him, the royal and his accuser Virginia Giuffre filed court papers in February stating that they had reached an agreement in principle to settle the lawsuit out of court. The Duke continues to deny Giuffre’s claims of sexual abuse, but he did write a letter stating that he regrets having ever associated with Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier Giuffre alleges trafficked her to the royal and other powerful men when she was just a teenager. In January, as that case headed to trial, Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages and, in April, he was also stripped of his Freedom of the City of York honor.
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