THURSDAY, November 21
Prince Andrew has been “red carded” by The Queen as pressure mounted on him and the Royal Family over his disastrous TV interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In a contrite statement which was totally at odds with the indifference he showed in the TV interview, the Prince said his association with Epstein has become a ‘major disruption’ to his family’s work
The Duke of York said he had asked the Queen if he could take a step back from public life and also stated he would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement agencies over investigations into Epstein’s alleged crimes.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” Prince Andrew said in a statement.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
The Prince, who is reported to be the favourite son of Queen Elizabeth II, has been under scrutiny over his friendship with Epstein for the past several years.
He quit as Britain’s roving trade ambassador in 2011 after being lambasted for his links to the financier after he was jailed in 2008 for child sex offences.
The Duke of York’s interview, which aired on the BBC on Saturday, was deemed by many as a failed attempt to explain his relationship with Epstein, who was found dead in his New York jail cell in August while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.
Prince Andrew was also roundly criticised for failing to acknowledge any of Epstein’s victims in the hour-long interview, which aired on Saturday.
In his latest statement, he said he “sympathised with everyone who has been affected”.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the Duke said.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”
The Prince, 59, has come under increasing scrutiny after footage was published in August by UK tabloid the Mail On Sunday showing him at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010, two years after Epstein had been convicted and jailed after pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Thanks to the bushfires, the air quality in Sydney has dropped to “hazardous” for the second time this week with children, the elderly and those with heart and lung conditions being warned to avoid the outdoors.
And authorities say the smoke, blowing in from large fires on the North Coast and Hawkesbury could hand around for days yet.
The Harbour City’s landmarks were barely visible as smoke from dozens of bushfires burning in NSW settled over Sydney, the Illawarra, North Coast and Central Coast.
The latest smoke shroud comes after Sydney was covered in smoke on Tuesday, when residents woke to a haze which cleared by mid-afternoon.
However, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) warned it was here to stay this time.
Dr Richard Broome from NSW Health advised schools to keep children inside.
“They’re often more active particularly outdoors so they’re more likely to inhale the smoke in large quantities,” he said.
“It’s important that if you do have children [to] just try and keep them indoors or discourage them from exercising too much outside.”
Total fire bans are in place across 12 NSW regions, with hot and windy conditions forecast for much of the state and temperatures set to reach into the high 30s and low 40s in the south and west.
James Morris from the RFS said the fire threat was still high in areas where a total fire ban had not been declared.
An Australian man and New Zealand woman who fell in love despite living apart came up with the perfect compromise for their wedding day – getting married on a Jetstar flight exactly halfway between both countries.
Cathy and her new husband David were officially married by a celebrant on Jetstar flight 201 from Sydney to Auckland last month.
Their marriage, made official at 10,000 metres, will be legally recognised in Australia.
Cathy told news.com.au the couple bonded over their love for aviation and met playing an online game called Airport City in 2011.
The couple got married halfway between Australia and New Zealand.
“It just evolved from there,” she said. “We first met in person in 2013 at Sydney Airport when I took my first trip to Australia. We locked eyes and that was it.”
Cathy said after the couple had dated for three years, David came close to proposing to her on a Jetstar flight from Brisbane to Melbourne but “got too nervous with all the surrounding passengers” – but proposed that night.
For their wedding, New Zealander Cathy wanted to do something special.
They married between Australia and New Zealand.
“We wanted it symbolise our love for aviation, our love for Australia and New Zealand and our love for each other,” she said.
“I thought, I’ll be cheeky and ask Jetstar. Without telling Dave, I posted on Jetstar’s Facebook page with the ask. I was so excited when they said they’d see what they could do.
“It was the most amazing experience, and something we will remember for the rest of our lives.”
The couple were married by Jetstar ground crew worker Robyn Holt, who is a celebrant.
She told news.com.au she believed the couple’s mid-flight wedding was the first to happen on an international flight.
“It was a really special occasion and definitely the first time I’ve conducted a wedding in the air,” she said.
“Being a part of Cathy and David’s day and celebrating their love and their passion for aviation was unforgettable. The passengers enjoyed being a part of it too. As an airline we love bringing people together, and this was one of my most memorable wedding celebrations.”
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