Prince Andrew ‘appalled’ over Epstein sex scandal claims
Statement follows new footage of Duke of York at sex offender’s mansion
Prince Andrew has said he is “appalled” by the sex abuse claims engulfing his former friend Jeffrey Epstein.
Buckingham Palace has released a statement after new footage emerged, claiming to show the Duke of York inside the disgraced billionaire’s mansion in 2010.
The Palace said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes.
“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.”
The Palace has also issued a denial over claims from a woman who said she was forced to have underage sex with the prince.
Virginia Roberts said in court papers in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is below the age of consent in the state.
Roberts alleged she had sex with the prince “three times, including one orgy” in London, at Epstein's home, and during an “orgy” on his private Caribbean island.
The Palace said the allegations are “false and without any foundation”, adding: “Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors” by the prince was “categorically untrue”.
Epstein, 66, who committed suicide in a prison cell while awaiting federal trial for sex trafficking, had socialised with a string of famous and powerful men, including Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. He pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges last month and was being held without bail.
The Guardian says Andrew has been “dogged by accusations of a lack of judgement” over his links with Epstein. In 2011, he quit as UK trade envoy amid the fallout from photos of him with Epstein in Central Park.
The newly emerged footage, which apparently pushed the Palace into making the statement, shows the prince peering out from the door of Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, waving goodbye to a woman. The mansion has been dubbed the “House of Horrors” by some of Epstein’s victims.
The Palace’s statement may not be enough to dampen speculation about Andrew, as the Daily Mail claims today that he hosted Epstein and his entourage at Balmoral.
The paper claims that young women on the trip said the prince “personally welcomed the party to the castle in mid-1999 – after the disgraced US financier had already begun recruiting dozens of underage girls as sex slaves”.
A spokesman for Prince Andrew has declined to comment on the Balmoral visit.