Duke to speak in public at Davos

Published: Wednesday 21st January 2015 by The News Editor

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The Duke of York is to address guests publicly during a reception at the World Economic Forum in Davos tomorrow, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

Andrew will say a “few words of welcome” as he hosts the Pitch@Palace event in Switzerland – the first time he has spoken in public since allegations that he had sex with an under-age teenager broke.

There have been suggestions the Duke will address the claims, which he vehemently denies, during the reception.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “We would not comment on speculation about what the Duke might say.”

Some 200 guests have been invited to the Pitch@Palace event, which will feature short presentations by three start-ups companies, and promote British entrepreneurship.

During his visit to the mountain village of Davos, Andrew is also likely to attend panel debates and bilateral meetings as he has done in previous years.

His attendance will be the first time he has been seen in public since the allegations emerged.

More than 40 top level politicians, as well as 2,500 business and society leaders, descend on the ski resort for the World Economic Forum – the annual gathering of economic and political movers and shakers.

David Cameron is missing the event for the first time since becoming Prime Minister. Chancellor George Osborne will be there, as will French president Francois Hollande, Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US secretary of state John Kerry.

Andrew has faced mounting controversy after he was named in US court documents as having sex with a woman, identified in reports as Virginia Roberts, on three separate occasions when she was a minor.

She is said to have been ”procured” for him by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire American financier, whom she accuses of using her as a “sex slave”.

Andrew stepped down as the UK’s trade envoy in July 2011 following controversy over his friendship with Epstein.

Palace officials have ”emphatically denied” the Duke had sexual contact with the woman.

Aides previously said the resilient Duke would “move on and push ahead” with his work promoting education, technology and enterprise.

Published: Wednesday 21st January 2015 by The News Editor

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