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Lambeth extricates itself from row over Prince Andrew’s state of grace

01 June 2022

Archbishop Welby told ITV News that Prince Andrew was ‘seeking to make amends’


Prince Andrew accompanies the Queen to the service of thanksgiving for the late Duke of Edinburgh in Westminster Abbey on 29 March

Prince Andrew accompanies the Queen to the service of thanksgiving for the late Duke of Edinburgh in Westminster Abbey on 29 March

LAMBETH Palace has sought to clarify the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments about the Duke of York and forgiveness.

In an interview with ITV News aired on Tuesday evening, Archbishop Welby said: “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.”

He also said in the interview: “I think we have become a very unforgiving society,” and that there is “a difference between consequences and forgiveness”. The interview precedes the publication of his new book, The Power of Reconciliation (News, 30 May; Books, 27 May).

On Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for Archbishop Welby said: “In his ITV News interview, the Archbishop was not referring specifically to Prince Andrew when he said we must become a more forgiving society. He was making a broader point about the kind of society that he hopes the Platinum Jubilee inspires us to be.”

Archbishop Welby also released a statement: “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.”

On Monday, Archbishop Welby announced that he had contracted Covid-19 and would play no part in the jubilee service in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday (News, 30 May).

The Archbishop’s comments on Prince Andrew attracted criticism on Twitter.

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a political commentator and author, posted on Tuesday evening: “If Prince Andrew wants to be forgiven (for what?) he should’ve gone through a trial to prove his innocence. This from Archbishop of Canterbury is why some distrust the church.” On Wednesday morning, Professor Kate Williams, a historian and television presenter, asked: “How, exactly, has #PrinceAndrew been making ‘amends’?”

In March this year, the Duke of York agreed to pay a financial settlement to end a civil case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, but made no admission of liability. Ms Giuffre claims that she was trafficked to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17.

Prince Andrew made his first public appearance since the settlement at the service of thanksgiving for his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, where he supported the Queen as she entered Westminster Abbey (News, 29 March).

In his interview with ITV News, Archbishop Welby said that “someone of 96, at a big public occasion, is fully entitled to have one of her children supporting her.”

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