Sponsors flee embattled Prince Andrew

The Duke of York’s role in public life has suffered further major setbacks with another multimillion-pound business cutting ties and universities reviewing their association with him.

Standard Chartered has joined KPMG in deciding not to renew its sponsorship of Andrew’s Pitch@Palace scheme. London Metropolitan University is to consider the duke’s role as patron, while a student panel at Huddersfield University has passed a motion to lobby the duke to resign as its chancellor.

Amid the unravelling of the duke’s position, former home secretary Jacqui Smith made fresh claims of racism, saying Andrew made “racist comments about Arabs that were unbelievable” at a Buckingham Palace state banquet.

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The Queen’s second son is facing the embarrassing prospect of charities and institutions he is associated with distancing themselves after his controversial Newsnight interview.

Andrew discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in jail while facing sex trafficking charges.

The duke has faced criticism and been accused of having a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse for his friendship with the disgraced financier.

A spokesman for Standard Chartered said: “We can confirm we are not renewing our sponsorship of Pitch@Palace for commercial reasons once our current agreement terminates in December.”

London Metropolitan University said the duke’s role as its patron will be considered at its board of governors meeting next Tuesday.

A spokesman added: “The university opposes all forms of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the university’s values.”

At Huddersfield University, the motion said: “We as students at the University of Huddersfield and members of Huddersfield Students’ Union should not be represented by a man with ties to organised child sexual exploitation.”

AstraZeneca’s three-year partnership with Pitch@Palace is due to expire at the end of this year and is being reviewed, and Outward Bound Trust, of which Andrew is patron, is to hold a board meeting in the next few days to discuss the matter.

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Meanwhile, a former home secretary has said she was left “slack-jawed” by alleged racist comments by the Duke of York.

Jacqui Smith, who served at the Home Office under Tony Blair, said Andrew made racist comments about Arab people during a state dinner. She said Andrew’s remarks to her “involved a comment about camels” and were “as worse as you could imagine”.

Ms Smith said: “I met him several times, including once at a state banquet where, after dinner, I and my husband and another Labour minister had a drink with him. I have to say the conversation left us slack-jawed with the things that he felt it was appropriate to say.”

It comes after former Downing Street aide Rohan Silva claimed he once heard Andrew use the expression “n***** in the woodpile”.