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UK Prince Andrew: 'No recollection' of Epstein sex slave

November 16, 2019

The UK's Prince Andrew has, until now, kept tight-lipped about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In an interview, the royal sought to squash allegations against him.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Prince Andrew (U.S. District Court Southern District of New York)
Image: picture-alliance/Capital Pictures

Britain's Prince Andrew has claimed he has "no recollection" of meeting a woman who said she was forced to have sex with him as a teenager.

The British royal said he could not remember ever meeting Virginia Roberts — one of the alleged victims of sex offender and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein — telling the BBC in a bombshell Saturday interview: "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."

Virginia Giuffre, formally Roberts, said she was forced to have sex with the prince three times by convicted pedophile Epstein while in London in 2001, when she was 17 years old, as well as in New York and on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean.

A widely circulated photograph taken around the same time shows Prince Andrew with his arm around Roberts' waist and Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's alleged fixer of young girls, in the background.  

Photo not real

Queen Elizabeth II's second son claimed that the photo was faked, although he said he was "at a loss to explain" the image. 

"I'm afraid to say that I don't believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested,'' he said. "If the original was ever produced, then perhaps we might be able to solve it but I can't."

Confronted with Giuffre's claims that she went out to dinner with the prince and partied at a night club before having sex at Maxwell's house, Andrew said there were "a number of things that are wrong'' about that account.

He said on the day of the alleged encounter on March 10, 2001, he had taken his daughter to a pizza party before going home for the night. 

"Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do," he said. "I remember it weirdly distinctly."

He also sought to cast doubt over Giuffre's claim that he sweated heavily at a London nightclub while dancing.

Andrew told the BBC he has a "peculiar medical condition, which is that I don't sweat or I didn't sweat at the time'' after suffering an "overdose of adrenaline'' in the Falklands War, the 1982 conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

"It was almost impossible for me to sweat,'' he said.

A serious lack of judgment

Prince Andrew admitted in the interview broadcast by the UK public broadcaster that he had demonstrated a serious lack of judgment in remaining friends with Epstein after he had been convicted of child sex crimes. 

He said he remained friends with Epstein because he was "too honorable" to have acted differently.

"That's the bit that ... as it were, I kick myself for 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.

Roberts Giuffre walks with lawyers
Virginia Giuffre (third from right) entering a court with her lawyer in New York in AugustImage: picture-alliance/Zuma/E. Michot

'A convenient place to stay'

During the interview, Prince Andrew also claimed that he stayed with Epstein because "it was a convenient place to stay."

Photographs and footage show the prince in the doorway of Epstein's New York mansion in 2010, two years after the financier's first conviction for sexual offenses.

The interview is the first time the prince has answered questions on his controversial friendship with Epstein.

Epstein was imprisoned for sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy in 2008 and was re-arrested on federal sex trafficking charges in July 2019. He was found dead in his cell in New York's high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center in August as he awaited trial. Authorities ruled his death a suicide.

 Giuffre is one of many women who have spoken out about years of sexual abuse as a minor at the hands of Epstein.

cw, kmm/sms (AFP/dpa)

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