Watch: Prince Andrew to pack his bags and quit public life
Speaking at a roundtable discussion about the 'Future of the Monarchy' hosted by Yahoo News UK's royal executive editor Omid Scobie, the panel suggested the disgraced Duke of York should have disappeared from public view following allegations of sex abuse against him from Virginia Giuffre.
Virginia Giuffre, (née Roberts) was a victim of convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell and billionaire businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who were friends of Prince Andrew. She has alleged that Andrew sexually assaulted her three times — in London, New York and Epstein's private island Little St. James.
Andrew has consistently denied all the allegations, but stepped back from public life following a shambolic Newsnight interview about the claims, subsequently resigning from official duties in 2020.
"The whole thing is a mess, a terrible mess," said biographer and royal editor of The Evening Standard, Robert Jobson. "The best thing that Prince Andrew could do at the age of 60-odd is to get his golf clubs and just retire."
"They've done this deal, whether its right or wrong I don't know," he said, referring to the private, multi-million pound settlement reached between Andrew and Giuffre.
"I don't agree with it, I think it should have been the full course of the law, but as they both took that decision then I think it is time to pack his bags and not have anything more to do with the Royal Family.
"He's the least popular member of the Royal Family and he shouldn't even be at the coronation, in my view. I think that he should just accept that his choice of friendship with a convicted paedophile was unacceptable to the public."
"Their friendship is unacceptable and its time for him to either go and fight the case legally, and get it dealt with once and for all or having nothing more to do with the Royal Family."
Jobson's sentiments are shared by the British public — an exclusive Savanta poll for Yahoo News UK revealed that 68% of the British public believe Prince Andrew can never return to public life following the Epstein scandal.
"It's more than that," added author and co-founder of the Women's Equality Party, Catherine Mayer. "In that interview of his, he claimed not to have not seen anything that was going on in the Epstein house, he basically erased the victims.
"He then in that settlement gave this statement talking about his sympathy for the victims, he then, in trying to brief about how he was actually innocent and all of that, has undone any attempt at an apology."
Mayer continued: "This has been so damaging and what you saw was the institution giving credibility to people who then were able to exploit that credibility, to the detriment of all of those victims and also giving shelter to one of its own members rather than turning him over or encouraging him to go to the law".
"There is absolutely no return to public life for him", she concluded.
The panel's comments come after Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson suggested he should be able to get on with his life following the scandal.
In an interview with Good Morning Britain last week, Ferguson spoke out on behalf of Andrew, with whom she shares two daughters and two grandchildren.
"With Prince Andrew, he is such a good man, he is a kind good man and I think the spotlight needs to come off him and let him get on with his life, to rebuild."
"He's a very good grandfather," she added.
He is set to attend King Charles's coronation on 6 May, although Buckingham Palace has not clarified whether or not he will play an active role in proceedings. However, it is likely only working royals will be a part of the procession.
Read more articles from Yahoo's 'Future of the Monarchy' panel here
And watch the full discussion panel below: