LONDON   -    Buckingham Palace has risked reigniting the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew a day after he stepped down from public duties by announcing he would continue his work with a business mentoring initiative.

The Duke of York will continue to be involved with Pitch@Palace, which has held events at Buckingham and St James’s palaces, according to the statement, “but will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of the palace”.

“Naturally there will be a transition period while this takes place,” said Buckingham Palace. The move to retain Prince Andrew’s links to the initiative, which corporate partners such as BT have been abandoning in recent days, muddies the water of what had appeared to be a clean break from royal duties.

It also signals a desire on the part of the palace to protect what was seen by some as a successful scheme, which builds ties between the corporate world and tech startups. At least one backer had suggested to the Guardian that Andrew could make way for another royal, such as Prince Harry or William.

Meanwhile, the University of Huddersfield announced the prince’s decision to stand down immediately as chancellor after a student panel voted for his resignation from the role. In his statement on Wednesday announcing he was standing down from public duties, the Duke of York said he was willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency” with their investigations after what he accepted was his “ill-judged association” with Epstein.

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing five of Epstein’s victims, demanded further action by the prince. In a tweet she called on him and his staff to appear for civil depositions and produce all relevant documents about his contact with Epstein.

Later, when asked by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether she would approach Prince Andrew to serve him with a subpoena to provide a legal statement about his time with Epstein, Bloom replied: “We may as part of our investigation.”

She added: “It may be difficult to serve a deposition subpoena on him. But we believe that nobody is above the law, and that everybody should have to answer questions, if they have relevant information, and he clearly does have relevant information. I serve deposition subpoenas frequently and people sometimes fight it but eventually they usually have to appear and answer questions.”

Prince Andrew claims he met Epstein through Ghislaine Maxwell – the daughter of the media baron Robert Maxwell – who has been accused of serving as Epstein’s procurer.

Asked whether a statement from the prince would be useful for Epstein’s victims, Bloom said: “Absolutely. We know that Prince Andrew had many contacts with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and we think anybody who has had a lot of interaction with them should be speaking not only to law enforcement but to lawyers to the victims, people like me who are doing investigations.”

She added: “I also think that all of the staff who work for Prince Andrew, should come and give information and evidence, and that documents should be turned over: emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs, so that we can get to the bottom of this.” She said some of her clients were determined to get answers about Epstein’s crimes. She said: “This is very important to women trying to put their lives back together.”

Bloom’s mother and fellow lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents some of Epstein’s victims, said the prince’s statement on Wednesday was not clear about how willing he was to cooperate with investigations against his former friend.