Prince Andrew doesn't remember meeting ‘sex slave’
Prince Andrew chuckled as he addressed his relationship with notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, saying he "let the side down" by visiting him in New York after the financier had been convicted of sex charges.
The Duke of York said he regretted his friendship with Epstein in his first television interview dealing with the long running scandal.
"It was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal family... I let the side down."— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) November 15, 2019
Prince Andrew speaks exclusively to #Newsnight about his decision to stay with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein https://t.co/Jo2mHaTrPi
WATCH: Saturday 21:00 @BBCTwo @maitlis pic.twitter.com/jZzpj7RwBe
But in a major blunder, he nervously laughs during one of his comments detailing his defence.
"The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted I stayed with him and that's the bit that, that, that as it were I kick myself on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that," he said in a clip released by the BBC.
"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady."— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) November 15, 2019
The Duke of York has spoken for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein and the allegations against him https://t.co/YfWs2EAi6v
FULL INTERVIEW: Saturday 21:00 @BBCTwo with @maitlis#Newsnight pic.twitter.com/zy7jvnRPJp
Andrew also denied that he had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was a teenager.
"I have no recollection of meeting this lady, none whatsoever," he told the BBC in an interview to air tomorrow.
Andrew was making a desperate attempt to clear his name from his association the Epstein in a television interview to air at 8am AEDT on Sunday.
The Duke of York has been dogged by his links to Epstein, an American financier who died by hanging in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10.
Royal experts say that Andrew's unprecedented interview on the BBC was a bid to clear the air before his daughter Beatrice's wedding to property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi next year.
"That (the wedding) must be on his mind when anything about this appears in the papers," Richard Fitzwilliams, former editor of The International Who's Who, said.
"This is obviously very serious. He's chosen to do this but he's been persuaded by someone."
The key question, Mr Fitzwilliams said, was whether Andrew would help the FBI in its investigations into Epstein with any information.
"He might be of help seeking future justice," he said.
Andrew has been drawn into Epstein's web, with claims the prince had sex with Ms Roberts Giuffre she was 17.
He was introduced to her through Epstein but Andrew has always strongly denied those claims.
Some of his supporters have even tried to claim that a photograph of him with his arm around the waist of Ms Roberts Giuffre, now 35, was fake.
Ms Roberts Giuffre has appeared on US television earlier this year and repeated her claims on 60 Minutes in Australia last week.
Andrew's scandal could lead to Prince Charles being called in again to walk a royal bride down the aisle.
Saturday 9pm. BBC2. No holds barred interview - no questions vetted- with Prince Andrew. https://t.co/erRkhJ1hTd— emily m (@maitlis) November 15, 2019
He was drafted in to replace Meghan's father Thomas Markle after he suffered a heart attack following the surfacing of a story about his involvement in paparazzi photographs in the weeks leading up to her wedding at Windsor Castle.
However, Andrew has been facing a much more serious scandal.
There were claims that Epstein had been running a paedophile ring where he would supply young girls to older men.
Andrew visited Epstein after he had been convicted and had sentenced to 18 months in jail in 2008 for procuring sex with a minor.
He was filmed during that visit to Epstein in 2010.
Andrew was named in court papers relating to Epstein in 2015 but those claims were struck out.
His former wife, Sarah Ferguson, also allegedly received money from Epstein to pay some of her bills.
Mr Fitzwilliams said that Andrew's work as a royal - including a recent trip to Perth for his Pitch the Palance business meetings - was compromised because of Epstein.
The BBC claimed this morning's interview was "no holds barred" and "no questions vetted."
The Queen was reportedly aware of the interview, which was filmed at Buckingham Palace on Friday local time.
The Sunday Times Magazine of London, one of Britain's most respected journals, wrote in a comprehensive interview on Andrew in 2017 that he was the "Queen's favourite son."
"The trouble is, in the 16 years since he left the Royal Navy, where he served as a distinguished helicopter pilot, Andrew has caused more trouble and embarrassment than the rest of the Queen's offspring put together," the report added.
Andrew has previously denied any inappropriate relations with Giuffre. When the allegations were first made, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said it was "emphatically denied" that Andrew had any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.
Andrew has previously said he stood by the palace statements. He recently apologised over his friendship with Epstein.
He has also previously acknowledged he made a mistake after a photograph of him with Epstein in New York was published in a British newspaper in December 2010. Andrew's former wife Ferguson sent him a message of support shortly before the interview excerpts were broadcast on Friday.
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It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs. Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people. I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth. For so many years he has gone about his duties for Great Britain and The Monarch. It is time for Andrew to stand firm now, and that he has, and I am with him every step of the way and that is my honour. We have always walked tall and strong, he for me and me for him. We are the best examples of joint parenting, with both our girls and I go back to my three C’s .. Communicate Compromise Compassion @hrhthedukeofyork
"It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty+pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs," she said on Twitter.
"Andrew is a true+real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness + goodness @TheDukeOfYork."
Prince Andrew 'should go to jail'
- New York Post
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the American woman who accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was just 17, last week declared the royal deserves to go to jail over the alleged incident.
Andrew was reportedly once close to convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in August, but said in a statement in August he was "appalled" by the "alleged crimes" of the disgraced financier.
In an interview with 60 Minutes Tara Brown in New York, Giuffre is shown standing outside Epstein's $A81 million Manhattan mansion, which she described as her "jail" during the years she says she was kept as the billionaire's sex slave.
But according to the New York Post, she left her harshest words for Andrew, right at the same time US network ABC was accused of shelving its own sit-down with Giuffre to appease the royal family.
"Prince Andrew should go to jail," Giuffre declared.
"I mean, is he ever going to? Probably not," said Giuffre, who now lives in Australia.
EXPOSING JEFFREY EPSTEIN: The billionaire businessman’s international sex trafficking ring and its alleged links to the Royal Family. This Sunday on #60Mins, the brave victims fighting to bring Epstein and his sick secret club of abusers to justice. pic.twitter.com/cZybLpCg5X— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) November 6, 2019
She mocked claims that the photo of her with the royal - which she says was taken moments before the first of three times she had sex with him - is a fake.
"Oh, the chubby fingers, I know," she said with a sarcastic smile, referring to claims that Andrew's fingers are fatter than those in the photo.
"This is a real photo. That is Andrew," she insisted. "It's been since given to the FBI and they've never contested that it's a fake."
Andrew has strenuously denied the "abhorrent" claims against him, insisting he never saw his friend's criminal side.
"Only one of us is telling the truth. And it will come out," Giuffre insisted.
Her lawyer, David Boies, also said of Andrew, "He can't hide forever. He can't travel to the United States without being prepared to testify."
Mr Boies said Epstein ran an "international sex trafficking operation," calling it a "well-oiled machine."
"There are many, many people that have serious culpability and I expect a number of them will be prosecuted," he insisted of the ongoing investigation after Epstein took his own life in a New York jail in August.
Giuffre says in the new interview that Epstein forced her to have sex with "the elite of the world."
"I was trafficked to other billionaires. I was trafficked to other politicians," she said.
"They should be named and they should be shamed. What they've done is horrific."
She detailed some of the abuse - and how Epstein refused to help even when she feared it might kill her.
"There wasn't a part of my body that they did not abuse," Giuffre said.
"I would be trafficked to somebody who physically and sexually abuses you, to the point you don't think you're going to live.
"And then you tell Epstein about it and he sends it back."
As she stood outside Epstein's lavish New York home, she said, "This mansion represents jail to me.
"Being a kid, I didn't realise what world I was being brought into."
Andrew has strenuously denied being involved in Epstein's sex ring.
"[Andrew] has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes," Buckingham Palace said in a statement in August.
"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."