In Depth

What is Prince Andrew’s relationship to Jeffrey Epstein?

New allegations emerge that Duke of York was given foot massage by ‘young Russian woman’ at Epstein’s apartment

Further questions have been raised over Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein after reports emerged that he received a foot massage from a young Russian woman at the disgraced financier’s New York residence.

This week writer Evgeny Morozov, in an article for the New Republic, reproduced a 2013 email exchange he had with literary agent John Brockman, in which Brockman described seeing the prince at Epstein’s apartment in 2011, two years after Epstein’s release from prison for procuring an underage prostitute.

In the article, he quoted Brockman as saying: “Last time I visited [Epstein’s] house (the largest private residence in NYC), I walked in to find him in a sweatsuit and a British guy in a suit with suspenders, getting foot massages from two young well-dressed Russian women… I realized that the recipient of Irina’s foot massage was his Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.”

Brockman added: “A week later, on a slow news day, the cover of the NYpost had a full-page photo of Jeffrey and Andrew walking in Central Park under the headline: The Prince and the Perv.(That was the end of Andrew’s role at the UK trade ambassador.)”

Buckingham Palace has strenuously denied any suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of the prince.

In a statement released on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said the Duke of York was “appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes”.

Here’s a look at the relationship between Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein:

What are the accusations against Epstein?

In July 2019, the 66-year-old financier was arrested over claims that he recruited girls as young as 14 into a sex-trafficking ring based in his homes in New York and Palm Beach in Florida.

His indictment this year came more than a decade after he “reached a suspiciously lenient plea deal” over similar charges in 2008, says Refinery29. Back then, Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser Florida state charges of soliciting and procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution, for which he spent 13 months in jail and was registered as a sex offender.

While awaiting trial in July he pleaded not guilty to two charges of sex-trafficking minors in a Manhattan federal court – a crime that could have seen him face 45 years in prison.

Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan prison cell on 10 August, having taken his own life.

Where does Prince Andrew come into the case?

“Andrew reportedly met Epstein in the late 1990s, after being introduced by Epstein’s then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the press baron Robert Maxwell”, The Guardian reports.

The scandal sparked by a photo of the prince walking with Epstein – by then a registered sex offender – in Central Park in 2011 ended the public connection between the two.

However, on 11 August this year, hundreds of pages of court documents relating to the Epstein case were unsealed, including testimony that cast Prince Andrew back into the spotlight.

Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) alleged in court documents that Epstein coerced her into “sexual relations” with Andrew in London, New York and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands when she was underage.

Giuffre alleges she was recruited and groomed “into a life of sexual servitude for Epstein”, who allegedly instructed her “to give the prince whatever he required” and report back on the details of “the sexual abuse”.

Epstein and Roberts are believed to have settled a civil lawsuit out of court in 2009 but six years later, she attempted to join a lawsuit launched by other alleged victims trying to reopen the Epstein case.

However, the judge ruled that too much time had passed since her original suit and threw out her allegations against Andrew because they were “immaterial and impertinent to the central claim”.

Separately, a woman called Johanna Sjoberg has accused of Prince Andrew of touching her breast while they sat on a couch in Epstein's Manhattan apartment in 2001.

What has Prince Andrew said?

The Guardian suggested in July that a 2001 photo of the Prince with Giuffre “raises obvious questions for Andrew”.

“The Palace has declined to say, for example, why Andrew was in the company of a 17-year-old masseuse working for Epstein at Maxwell’s home,” the newspaper says.

Buckingham Palace said that the Duke was appalled by reports of Epstein’s alleged crimes, saying: “The suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”

This evidence statement was submitted in a case in which the duke was not a party and in which any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors is categorically untrue,” it added. “The testimony is inconsistent when checked against the court circular.”

The British royal is not the only public figure to face embarrassment as a result of their friendship with Epstein.

Media outlets have recently dug up comments made by US President Donald Trump in 2002 in which he said of the billionaire: “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

After Epstein was indicted on the new charges earlier this year, Trump struck a markedly different tone, saying he was “not a fan” of Epstein and that they have not spoken for 15 years.

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