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Prince Andrew tells the BBC about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein



Prince Andrew speaks to BBC Emily MaitlisImage copyright
Mark Harrison / BBC

The Duke of York answered questions about his links to Jeffrey Epstein for the first time in an interview with the BBC.

He spoke with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis in a taped interview at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

Maitlis said it was an "unhindered interview" to be broadcast on BBC Two at 21:00 GMT on Saturday.

The duke faces serious claims about his ties to the 66-year-old American financier, who took his own life while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking.

In 2015, Prince Andrew was named in court documents as part of a US civil case against Epstein.

One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre – said she was forced to have sex with the duke three times between 1999 and 2002 in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island belonging to Epstein.

At the time, she was a minor under Florida state law.

  • Who was Jeffrey Epstein?
  • The Duke's Ties with Epstein

The details were later officially removed from court records when a judge ruled they were unnecessary to the case, saying they were "immaterial and impertinent" to the "central claim."

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Media CaptionVirginia Giuffre: Prince Andrew "Knows Exactly What He Did"

A risky but necessary interview

It's a sign of how bad things are for Prince Andrew and his reputation that he has chosen to give such an interview. This is not a chat by the fireplace with an old family friend. This is a long and presumably forensic interview with one of the best of the BBC.

Royal family members give very few interviews; they try to keep a line between their public lives, which follow an order and pattern that rarely raises questions, and their private lives, which attract much attention but are forbidden by the Palace.

When they talk about their private lives, it's usually big news – Princess Diana curses their marriage and describes their misery, Prince Charles admits their unfaithfulness, Harry and Meghan talking about how difficult their lives seem since marriage.

The debate over whether Prince Andrew should give an interview will be long and vigorous. So many questions were blocked for so long, with the prince's right to privacy as his motive. By sitting with the BBC, he waived that right. It seems like a huge risk. But the prince and his advisers thought the risk of saying nothing is greater.

Separately, a woman named Johanna Sjoberg alleged that the duke touched his chest while sitting on a sofa in Epstein's Manhattan apartment in 2001 in documents from a defamation case.

Buckingham Palace issued strong denials of all allegations against the Duke.

In 2015, a statement said "any suggestion of underage misconduct" by the duke was "categorically false."

Image copyright
Mark Harrison / BBC

The duke met Epstein in 1999 and they met on several occasions after that.

In 2005, the parents of a 14-year-old girl told Florida police that Epstein had molested her daughter at her Palm Beach home.

Prosecutors forged a settlement with Epstein in 2008, which prevented him from making federal charges.

Instead, he received an 18-month prison sentence, during which he was able to "release work" to his office for 12 hours a day, six days a week. He was released on parole after 13 months.

In 2010, the duke was photographed walking with Epstein in New York's central park – two years after the financier's first conviction.

Video footage, released by Mail on Sunday, shows the duke at Epstein's Manhattan mansion at the same time.

In a statement issued by Buckingham Palace in August, the duke said he was "horrified" by allegations of sexual abuse involving his former friend.

The statement added: "His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion that he would forgive, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent."


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