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Prince Andrew. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/ via Getty Images

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, announced Wednesday in a statement that Queen Elizabeth gave him permission to step away from his royal duties, saying "circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein [have] become a major disruption to my family's work."

The big picture: The move comes as the duke has faced growing backlash after a recent BBC interview in which he answered questions for the first time about his friendship with Epstein. He also denied ever having a sexual relationship with one of Epstein’s accusers, as she has claimed.

The impact: Following the interview, several firms announced they would withdraw support for the duke's business mentoring initiative, Pitch@Palace.

  • Accounting firm KPMG, a founding partner of Pitch@Palace, said its contract with the company expired in October and would not be renewed, according to the Guardian.
  • Banking services company Standard Chartered said it would not renew its contract either.
  • In total, 10 companies cut ties with Pitch@Palace as of Nov. 20.

What he's saying: "I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sypmathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure."

  • He added his willingness to help law-enforcement investigations into Epstein and possible co-conspirators.

Zoom out: The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is continuing its probe of Epstein after his death, focusing on those who may have aided his alleged abuse of underage girls.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 mins ago - Energy & Environment

The finance sector links arms on climate

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A big, UN-backed umbrella group of banks, asset managers, investors and insurers launched Wednesday to boost private clean tech finance and press polluting industries that use their services to cut emissions.

Why it matters: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) is the broadest financial industry effort yet on climate change.

Scoop: Chris Christie friends believe he's running in 2024

Chris Christie at the White House in 2020. Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is seriously considering running for president in 2024, three people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Driving the news: While Christie isn't saying anything publicly about his thinking — besides telling radio host Hugh Hewitt he's not ruling it out — people close to him have an early sense of the rationale and outlines of a potential candidacy.

28 mins ago - World

China's Xi accepts invitation to Biden's climate summit

Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend President Biden's virtual climate summit this week, according to China's foreign ministry.

Why it matters: It'll mark the first time the two leaders have met face to face — albeit virtually — since Biden took office. China and the U.S. are the world's two largest carbon emitters.