Anatomy of a fightback: How Prince Andrew’s statement over friendship with Jeffrey Epstein raises questions as well as answers them
- Prince Andrew released a statement regarding rumours on Epstein friendship
- Came two weeks after the billionaire paedophile’s suicide in New York cell
- Letter attempts to address the several times they met over 11 years but also is a chance for the Prince to distance himself from his ‘associate’
Two weeks after Jeffrey Epstein’s prison suicide, Prince Andrew publicly addressed issues arising from his controversial friendship with the paedophile.
Here we analyse the Duke of York’s official weekend statement…
Blaming the press
Seeks to blame Press reports whereas, far from being mere ‘speculation’, his close links with Epstein are a matter of fact and well documented in many photos and court documents.
Calling friendship into question
Why does the Palace say either an ‘association’ or a ‘friendship’? There is a distinct difference. Is he trying to distance himself from the Epstein scandal by using the word ‘association’? Other confidants of the pair have described them as having a close friendship, with Epstein himself referring to the prince as ‘Andy’.
A belated statement
Though supposedly ‘eager’ to set the record straight, this statement was issued two weeks after Epstein’s death – and provides little new insight. Over several years previously, Buckingham Palace has not answered detailed questions that might offer a comprehensive explanation of their relationship. Also, it is more than ‘speculation’ – reports are based on hard facts.
Prince Andrew (pictured) continued to cosy up to Epstein in 2010 despite the financier having just been released from an 18-month jail term for under-age sex offences
Flight logs submitted in court suggest the two men may have first met before 1999. In April 1998, Epstein met Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, in the Bahamas. Andrew travelled on Epstein’s jet to his private Caribbean island on February 9, 1999, for a three-day stay, which might be considered unusual for a first meeting.
How often did they meet?
Royals’ lives are meticulously diarised so it ought to be possible to provide a full account of where and when he met Epstein, and where he stayed. Media stories indicate the pair met more than twice in some years and Andrew often stayed with him for several days. The statement also fails to detail Epstein’s visits to Windsor Castle, Balmoral and Sandringham.
A lack of suspicion
Many of Epstein’s acquaintances have said he flaunted the fact he was often accompanied by girls and women now known to be his ‘sex slaves’. Didn’t Andrew spot anything strange about the number of women consorts? In any case, why didn’t he drop him like a stone after his arrest and conviction? Andrew would have to be rather unperceptive to not have become at all suspicious of his friend.
Why didn’t he stay away?
Andrew continued to cosy up to Epstein in 2010 despite the financier having just been released from an 18-month jail term for under-age sex offences.
Will he help the police?
Although he is not accused of any wrongdoing, the duke could help address many unanswered questions by speaking to police, either in the UK or the US.
Trying to cut links
This seems to be a belated attempt to break away from his association with Epstein and align himself in a #MeToo fashion with the American’s victims of sex crimes.
A strange phrase
The word ‘lifestyle’ is a very curious description of Epstein’s grotesque crimes and has been condemned as treating sexual abuse of young women as a ‘lifestyle’ choice and not a pernicious crime.
What’s in a name?
Signing off casually with just his first name, rather than his official title the Duke of York, is unusually informal – particularly for such a very serious matter.