Prince Andrew is trying to ‘make amends’, Archbishop of Canterbury says

London: The Archbishop of Canterbury said Prince Andrew is seeking to “make amends” and highlighted the importance of forgiveness after Queen Elizabeth’s son’s fall from grace following accusations of sex abuse that led to a legal settlement.

Andrew, 62, paid an undisclosed sum earlier this year to Virginia Giuffre, who accused him in a U.S. lawsuit of sexually abusing her two decades ago when she was 17. The prince did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.

Britain’s Prince Andrew.Credit:AP

Justin Welby, the most senior bishop in the Church of England, said Elizabeth was “fully entitled” to have been accompanied by Andrew at the memorial service for her husband Prince Philip in March.

In comments to ITV News, Welby said: “Forgiveness really does matter. I think we have become a very, very unforgiving society.

“There’s a difference between consequences and forgiveness. I think for all of us, one of the ways that we celebrate when we come together is in learning to be a more open and forgiving society.

“Now, with Prince Andrew, I think we all have to step back a bit. He’s seeking to make amends and I think that’s a very good thing.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, pictured in Westminster Abbey.Credit:AP

“You can’t tell people how to respond about this and the issues of the past in the area of abuse are so intensely personal and private for so many people, it’s not surprising there’s very deep feelings indeed.”

Welby also discussed the divide emerging between the elder Prince William and Prince Harry, who has distanced himself from the royal family by moving to the US with his wife Megan:

“Of course it’s sad when families are struggling, but what family isn’t?

“I think if there’s any family where the relationships are perfect, they’re entitled to judge, but I’m not going to.”

The sensitivity around Andrew’s case prompted the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office to issue a clarification after the airing of his ITV interview.

The Most Reverend Welby said: “In tonight’s interview with ITV News I 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.

“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.”

Earlier this year, the royal family removed Andrew’s military links and said he will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness”.

Andrew is not expected to appear when the royal family gather to wave at crowds from the palace balcony on Thursday as part of celebrations to mark the queen’s 70 years on the British throne.

Reuters with reporters

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