Prince Andrew opened up about his links to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein for the first time — speaking out about his relationship with the 66-year-old millionaire and allegations that he had sex with Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) when she was 17 years old.
In a sit-down interview with BBC Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis recorded inside the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, the Duke of York talked at length about his involvement with Epstein, who died by suicide in jail in New York City in August while awaiting trial on multiple sex charges.
Here are the biggest bombshells from the “no holds barred interview.”
Prince Andrew Details Relationship with Epstein
Queen Elizabeth‘s son recalled meeting Epstein in 1991 through the financier’s then-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell.
“It would be, to some extent, a stretch to say that as it were we were close friends. I mean, we were friends because of other people. And I had a lot of opportunity to go to the United States, but I didn’t have much time with him,” Andrew said of his relationship with Epstein, adding that he would sometimes take the millionaire up on his offer to stay at his houses when he wasn’t around.
He Denies Ever Meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre
Giuffre alleges 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 by the disgraced financier.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” the Duke of York, 59, told Maitlis about Giuffre’s allegations. “It just never happened.”
The Royal Claims He Was “Home with the Children” When an Encounter Allegedly Took Place
Speaking specifically about Giuffre’s claim that he danced with her at London’s exclusive Tramp nightclub before allegedly having sex in a mansion in the upmarket Belgravia neighborhood, Queen Elizabeth’s second son said, “No, that couldn’t have happened because the date that’s being suggested I was at home with the children.”
Andrew — who is father to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie — added, “I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of four or five in the afternoon. And then because the Duchess (Sarah Ferguson) was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there. I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so, therefore, I was at home.”
Andrew Denied That He Could Have “Sweated Profusely” While Dancing with Giuffre
The prince stated that he couldn’t have danced and “sweated profusely” on the dance floor, as claimed by Giuffre in court papers, because at the time he was suffering from a medical condition that made it impossible for him to perspire.
“I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply…it was almost impossible for me to sweat,” Andrew said. “It’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again.”
Prince Andrew Says He Has “No Memory” of Photo with 17-Year-Old Giuffre Being Taken
When Maitlis raised the issue of a photograph showing the royal with his arm around Giuffre’s waist — thought to have been taken inside the London home of Maxwell on March 10, 2001, when Giuffre was 17 years old at the time — the royal claimed he had no recollection of the encounter.
“I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken,” Andrew told Maitlis, before questioning the authenticity of the picture itself because he’s wearing his “traveling clothes” as opposed to his regular suit and tie. He even suggested that his left hand has been photoshopped onto Giuffre’s side in the image.
“I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken,” he said. “I don’t remember going upstairs in the house because that photograph was taken upstairs and I am not entirely convinced that…I mean that is…that is what I would describe as me in that…in that picture but I can’t…we can’t be certain as to whether or not that’s my hand on her whatever it is, left… left side.”
The Queen Gave Her Approval for the Interview
In a first-person piece for The Times, Maitlis recalled negotiations leading up to the sit-down interview. After discussing matters, the Duke of York told Newsnight that he had to “seek approval from higher up.”
“It dawns on us then that he means the Queen herself,” the journalist wrote. “At 8 a.m. the next day we have a message telling us to call his office. The Queen, it seems, is on board.”
The Palace Holds Movie Nights for Its Staff
As Maitlis collected her things to leave Buckingham Palace after the interview, the drawing room was being transformed into a movie theater for the staff — and a woman invited her to stay.
Maitlis replied, “Perhaps you want to get everyone along for Sunday. It’s the new series of The Crown.” But the woman replied: “We had Downton Abbey last week. But we don’t do The Crown here.”