Prince Andrew has discussed his connection with disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein for the first time after years of speculation about their friendship. The Duke of York also refuted claims of having had sex with Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, one of the women who accused Epstein of sexual assault, while she was a minor. In the exclusive BBC Newsnight interview, host Emily Maitlis asked the Duke: “One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts, 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?”
Prince Andrew denied ever meeting Mrs Roberts-Giuffre, saying: “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Prodded again about not remembering meeting Mrs Roberts-Giuffre, the Duke repeated: “No.”
Prince Andrew claimed he had never met Virginia Roberts-Giuffre
Prince Andrew refuted claims he had sex with Virginia Roberts-Giuffre when she was 17
The Prince has repeatedly strongly denied claims he had sex with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts-Giuffre.
Andrew and Mrs Giuffre-Roberts were pictured together in 2001 alongside Ghislaine Maxwell, an associate of Epstein, but friends of the Duke have dismissed the image claiming it was “doctored”.
Mrs Giuffre-Roberts’s allegations about the duke were struck from the US court record in 2015 after a judge branded them “immaterial and impertinent” to the “central” claim.
Buckingham Palace said previously: “Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
Prince Andrew will discuss his relationship with Epstein in a special BBC Newsnight episode on Saurday
Prince Andrew said he “kicked himself daily” about his conduct
The Palace added: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
A US Federal Appeals Court has warned that allegations in court papers should not be understood as firm findings or as “some sort of marker of reliability” because New York law grants absolute immunity from liability for defamation.
Prince Andrew has faced persistent questions over his friendship with Epstein since the man was arrested for the second time in 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking crimes.
Epstein was facing charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking when he was found dead in his jail cell in New York in August.
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Prince Andrew had previously commented on the claims with prepared statements
Prince Andrew said he was “appalled” by the claims of sexual exploitation moved against Epstein
The American billionaire had previously been convicted to 18 months in prison after a Florida jury had found him guilty of soliciting a minor with the intent of prostitution and soliciting prostitution in 2008.
Epstein served 13 months of his sentence and was forced to register as a sex offender in any state he lived in.
Prince Andrew provoked outrage after he was pictured with the convicted sex offender as they walked through Central Park in 2010, two years after his sentencing.
In the BBC interview, the Duke of York admitted to “kicking himself on a daily basis” for maintaining contact with Epstein after he had been found guilty of the charges.
Andrew said the decision to keep in touch had not been “becoming of a member of the Royal Family”.
The Prince, who previously had only commented on the matter through agreed statements from Buckingham Palace, in the past has said he had been “appalled” by the sex abuse claims moved against Epstein.
A comment from the Palace released this summer read: “His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”