The Duke of York is to continue working on his flagship project Pitch@Palace but will do so without the support of Buckingham Palace.

Despite saying in a statement that he would “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”, Andrew is examining ways of continuing the successful mentoring scheme for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs which he founded in 2014.

It would become a private initiative separate from the public work he has relinquished temporarily amid a backlash following a TV interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

High-profile business sponsors KPMG, Standard Chartered and Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, have all said they will not renew their financial support for Pitch.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “He will continue to work on Pitch but will look at how to do that outside and entirely separate from the palace.”

It is thought the duke will not have any involvement with the dozens of charities, organisations and military units he is associated with as patron or in other roles.