Prince Andrew Speaks Out On Jeffrey Epstein & Allegations Of Assaulting Underage Girl

Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Getty Images.
Prince Andrew broke his silence on Jeffrey Epstein and accusations of underaged sex in a new BBC interview. In the sit-down, which will air in full on Saturday night U.K. time on BBC Two, Andrew comments on a 2015 civil case against Epstein, the financier who was indicted on charges of sex trafficking and died by suicide this summer while awaiting trial for abusing dozens of underage girls. In the case, Virginia Giuffre accused the royal of having underage sex with her starting when she was 16 years old. The Duke of York is now claiming he doesn’t remember meeting her, despite contradicting evidence.
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In her filings, Giuffre alleged that between 1999 and 2002, when she was a minor, she was forced to have sexual relations with Andrew. She also claimed that she had been “loaned out” to him by Epstein. "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” Andrew told the BBC, adding when pressed further on whether he had ever met Giuffre, “No.”
This differs from his original comments regarding the case in which he made no mention of Giuffre. In 2015 Buckingham Palace released a statement refuting the allegations against Andrew, according to The Guardian. “This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States to which the Duke of York is not a party. As such we would not comment in detail,” the statement read. “However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
Andrew similarly denied the sexual misconduct claims in a press conference that same year. “I just wish to reiterate and reaffirm the statements that have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace,” he said.
This new interview also contradicts a 2001 photo that has circulated of Andrew with his arm around a teenaged Giuffre. Neither the Palace nor Andrew have ever publicly addressed this photo and it is unclear if the photo was discussed in the interview, according to The Washington Post. In September, The Guardian reported that “sources close” to Andrew started to raise doubts about the photo, which was first published in 2011. They argue that the prince’s fingers are “chubbier” in real life than they appear in the photo. But, in an interview with 60 Minutes Australia last week, Giuffre continued to defend the legitimacy of the image
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“This photo has been verified as an original and has since been given to the FBI and they've never contested that it’s a fake,” she said. “I know it’s real and he needs to stop with all of these lame excuses, we’re sick of hearing it.”
During the interview, Andrew also said that he now considers his friendship with Epstein, whom he reportedly met through British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in the ‘90s, a mistake. When asked about his decision to stay in Epstein’s mansion during his 2010 trip to New York, the royal told the BBC, "It was a convenient place to stay.” He added that “with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgment was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable but that's just the way it is."
Andrew told the BBC that spending time with Epstein in 2010, two years after the financier’s first indictments for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, which resulted in a 13-month jail sentence in 2008, was “not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family.” “I kick myself for on a daily basis,” the Duke of York said regarding a 2010 photo of him and Epstein hanging out together in New York City. He said that as “royals we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down” — British slang for “embarrassing one’s family for behaving badly” — “simple as that."
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Andrew reportedly had to get “approval from the highest levels — we now understand that was the Queen” for this interview, according to the BBC interviewer, Emily Maitlis, per The Washington Post.
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