“Aon is not a partner to Pitch@Palace and never has been, which is why we asked for the logo to be removed from the website.”
This was the statement issued by London-headquartered broking giant Aon to Insider as several others back away from the initiative founded by the Duke of York, who is now facing increased backlash following what is considered a disastrous television interview over the weekend.
“Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview” centred on the royal’s ties with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the allegation that the late American financier forced a 17-year-old to have sex with Queen Elizabeth II’s second son in 2001.
In the interview, the Duke of York not only provided an alibi aimed at refuting the claim but also indicated his attitude towards his relationship with Epstein despite the controversies.
“The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn, either by him or because of him, were actually very useful,” Prince Andrew told BBC presenter Emily Maitlis.
Meanwhile Pitch@Palace, the goal of which is to support entrepreneurs with the amplification and acceleration of their business ideas, is seeing corporate sponsors’ backing dwindle – so much so that the scheme’s partners page on its website has been deleted.
Reuters cited Standard Chartered as saying that it will not be renewing its Pitch@Palace sponsorship, which runs until year-end. AstraZeneca, whose support also expires at the end of 2019, is said to be reviewing the deal.
Ahead of them is KPMG, which already headed for the exit by not offering further backing after its partnership with Pitch@Palace ended on October 31.