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Prince Andrew to continue with Pitch@Palace project 'outside' the Royal Family

Andrew speaks at a Pitch@Palace event. Credit: PA

Prince Andrew will continue to work on his treasured scheme which connects entrepreneurs with investors.

But he will do so privately, and Pitch@Palace will not come under the work of Buckingham Palace, nor will the costs be met by royal coffers.

Quite how the Duke of York will continue to work for it - and whether it can still use @Palace as part of its name - is all currently under discussion.

But one of the sponsors has told ITV News privately, that it will simply "walk away" if the Duke's association with the scheme casts a shadow over it in any way.

Prince Andrew was spotted in public for the first time since the stepped down from royal duties on Thursday. Credit: PA

The project is close to the Prince's heart and it's created 6,000 jobs over it's five years of existence.

It was the Duke's idea to use St James' Palace to bring together entrepreneurs with big ideas and connect them with investors with deep pockets.

All those involved in the Pitch scheme say it's been a huge success.

But this week, some of the corporate sponsors started to pull out over the ongoing questions concerning the Duke's former friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The accountancy firm KPMG pulled it sponsorship at the end of October, the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said its sponsorship was under review.

Yesterday Barclays said it was "concerned about the current situation" and that its support was "under review."

Pitch operates across the UK and in some locations around the world.

The next event, Pitch Global, is due to take place in Bahrain next week.

But Buckingham Palace refused to say whether or not Prince Andrew will attend it.