Prince Andrew defers military honour amid Epstein accusations

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that jailhouse video no longer exists of the area around Jeffrey Epstein's jail cell on a day he survived an apparent suicide attempt

Prince Andrew defers military honour amid Epstein accusations

Meanwhile, the government has said it would be advising local councils that there is no requirement to fly the Union flag on the the duke's birthday, following his decision to step back from public duties.

It is not clear how this impacts on Northern Ireland.

The Duke stepped down from royal duties in November 2019 after he came under fire for showing a lack of empathy for Epstein's victims and failing to show regret over his friendship with the disgraced financier.

And US prosecutors claim Andrew has ignored Federal Bureau of Investigation requests to question him over allegations of sex trafficking by Epstein.

The three largest parties in Belfast City Council, Sinn Féin, the DUP, and Alliance, are yet to comment.

When asked if the Isle of Wight Council would fly the flag for Prince Andrew's birthday, a spokesperson said nothing special would be done to mark the occasion.

His view was supported by his party colleague, Councillor Donal Lyons, who said flying the flag would "leave a bad taste in the mouths of many".

Mr Seiger said, if Andrew and Mrs Sacoolas had been told "it's all going to go away", that was "terrible advice".

"Both Ms. Sacoolas and Prince Andrew must cooperate with law enforcement", Bloom said.

Ms Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, claims she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Epstein and alleges the duke slept with her on three separate occasions, including when she was 17 - still a minor under United States law.

An Assembly spokeswoman said: "The Assembly Commission has agreed that Parliament Buildings flies flags on the designated days determined by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)".

However, the government added they would not be required to fly the flag on the Duke's birthday this month.

"I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission", Queen Elizabeth's second son said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

Certain royal birthdays, including the duke's, are traditionally marked by the ringing of bells at the Abbey.

The FBI wants to question the prince as part of its Epstein investigation, but a U.S. prosecutor said last month that Andrew had been uncooperative.

"By convention, the Duke of York would be in line for military promotion on his 60th birthday", the Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

The Duke of York was set for a promotion to the rank of Admiral on his February 19 birthday, an honour offered to many senior working royals.

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