Queen Elizabeth’s second son faces serious allegations about his ties to Epstein, who he first met in 1999

By Phil Boucher
November 15, 2019 12:45 PM
Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images; Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan

Prince Andrew is opening up about his links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein for the first time.

In a must-see interview recorded inside the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, the Duke of York talks at length about his involvement with the 66-year-old millionaire, who died by suicide in jail in New York City in August while awaiting trial on multiple sex charges.

The world exclusive event, “Prince Andrew & The Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview,” described by BBC Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis as a “no holds barred interview — no questions vetted,” will be broadcast on BBC Two at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. It is not yet known whether there are plans to air the interview in the U.S., but clips will be available on the BBC website and social media pages.

In 2015, Andrew, 59, — an uncle to Prince William and Prince Harry, and younger brother of Prince Charleswas named in court papers by Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre), who alleges that she was forced to have sex with the royal three times between 1999 and 2002 in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned. She claims her first experience with Prince Andrew took place when she was 17.

In preview clips released by the BBC on Friday, Maitlis asks the Queen’s second son about Giuffre.

“[She] has made allegations against you. She says she met you in 2001, she says she dined with you, danced with you at Tramp Nightclub in London. She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend. Your response?”

Andrew responds, “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

Maitlis then asks, “You don’t remember meeting her?”

The Duke confirms his initial denial, saying, “No.”

A second BBC clip focuses on Prince Andrew regretting his relationship with Epstein, who he first met in 1999 and continued to associate with long after the financier pleaded guilty to a felony charge of procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution in 2008.

Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the crime but was granted work release after he’d been incarcerated for 13 months. He also registered as a sex offender.

“The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted… I stayed with him and that’s…that’s…that’s the bit that…that…that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis,” the royal tells Maitlis.

Prince Andrew — who was pictured strolling in New York’s Central Park with Epstein as late as 2010 — adds, “It was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices.

“I let the side down, simple as that.”

On September 20, Giuffre doubled down on her claims, describing the Duke as “an abuser” and “a participant” in her sexual abuse, during an interview with Savannah Guthrie for NBC’s Dateline.

In reply to the NBC interview, a Buckingham Palace statement “emphatically denied” the Duke had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.”

It added, “Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”

Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts Giuffre
Alexander Koerner/Getty; Today

In a second case, former student Johanna Sjoberg also alleges that Prince Andrew touched her breast while they sat on a couch in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

The claims — described by Buckingham Palace as “categorically untrue” — appear in documents for a 2015 defamation suit against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who is alleged to have conspired to groom underage girls for sex with Epstein.

“I just remember someone suggesting a photo, and they told us to go get on the couch,” Sjoberg said in the court documents.

“And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap.

“And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”

In October this year, Giuffre and two other Epstein survivors were honored in PEOPLE’s annual Women Changing the World edition.

“I started screaming, ‘No way. He’s arrested,'” Giuffre told PEOPLE about the moment she learned of Epstein’s arrest. “Tears of joy [were] streaming down my face.”

Andrew’s former wife Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York posted a message of support for her ex-husband on Twitter on Friday, writing: “It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty+pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs. Andrew is a true+real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness + goodness.”

The couple, who remain close following their split in 1996, share two children, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.