In an interview with U.K. network ITV, Nicola Sturgeon questioned the British royal family's future given Prince Andrew's ties to disgraced financier and convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Sturgeon, who serves as Scotland's First Minister, went on record doubting the royal family's viability while many of Epstein's alleged victims go without restitution or closure.
"I think there is a debate to be had about the longer-term future of the monarchy, one of the things though in the context of Prince Andrew that I feel very strongly about is that a debate about the monarchy shouldn't be a distraction from Epstein's victims and how they now get whatever justice they can get and get the truth and the ability to move on."
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn echoed Sturgeon's sentiments, saying "I think it's time that we just moved on and said when the Queen completes her reign, wouldn't that be an appropriate time to call it a day and have an elected Head of State."
As reported by The Inquisitr, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, sparked controversy with a recent BBC Newsnight interview where he defended his relationship with Epstein, which he said had "seriously beneficial outcomes." Epstein allegedly introduced him to then-17-year-old Virginia Roberts who says she began a sexual relationship with the royal. Prince Andrew denied having met Roberts until after a photo surfaced of Andrew with his arm around the girl's waist. The Duke of York went on to deny sleeping with the then-underage girl, who says she had been groomed by Epstein for a sexual encounter with the Duke of York.
Following the interview, many took to Twitter to express their skepticism.
The furor has led to Prince Andrew's effective termination. His mother Queen Elizabeth has stripped him of his duties, and he has recused himself from the public eye, as well as tendered resignation at his various patronages. His responses in the interview, which many criticized as uncompassionate and out of touch, have even disrupted plans for his daughter Beatrice's wedding to British property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
According to Newsweek, Andrew's family is grappling with its reduced standing but will still be present at royal family events at Buckingham Palace, such as Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday. Prince Andrew has since gone on record to retract his statements, expressing regret over his relationship with the billionaire financier. He also now says he is happy to work with law enforcement agencies to provide information that could be of use in the Epstein case.