Prince Andrews during the interview with BBC journalist Emily Maitlis denied alleged claims of having multiple sexual encounters with minor Virginia Giuffre and questioned his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
Jeffrey Epstein, the US financier, took his own life in prison while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
The Duke of York, Prince Andrew is now under scrutiny for his friendship with Epstein and for his alleged sexual involvement with Virginia Giuffre when she was 17.
The woman, one of Epstein’s accusers, claimed that she was forced into a sexual relationship with Prince Andrews between 2001 and 2002, when she was still a minor.
The Queen’s third son, speaking to the BBC journalist Emily Maitlis stated he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever” adding that the episode Giuffre described “[it] didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you that it never happened”.
During the interview with the BBC journalist, the Duke said that there are many things wrong with the claims Ms. Giuffre has made. In fact, he stated that the night where the alleged sexual encounter took place, he was taking Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party before spending the rest of the night at home.
When questioned by Emily Maitlis about a picture of him and Virginia Giuffre, taken at the Ghislaine Maxwell’s house, he said he didn’t have any memory of it, adding that he had done his investigations into whether the picture could have been fake or not. However, the Duke concluded that the investigations were unable to prove anything “because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph”.
Regarding his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew admitted he never suspected the US financier’s criminal behaviour on his visits.
In the interview with the BBC, Emily Maitlis pointed out that although an arrest warrant was issued in May 2006 against Jeffrey Epstein, in June of the same year Prince Andrew invited him to Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party, at the Windsor Castle.
The duke responded that at the time he “wasn’t aware when the invitation was issued what was going on in the United States”. Prince Andrew also added that he ceased contact with the US financier a year later until 2010.
When Epstein was released in December 2010, the Duke went to visit him in his New York mansion. Challenged by BBC reporter on the decision of staying in the house of a convicted sex offender, the Prince explained: “I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted, it was inappropriate for us to be seen together”.
However, the Duke stayed at Epstein’s mansion several nights and attended a dinner party, justifying this as “it was a convenient place to stay” adding that although Mr. Epstein had been seen with many girls during those nights, the duke claimed that he didn’t see anyone.
Prince Andrew admitted that meeting Epstein after his conviction was “the wrong decision and the wrong judgment”.
Words: Giulia Frau | Image: Unsplash | Interview by Emily Maitlis