Prince Andrew is said to be ‘panicked’ amid renewed scrutiny over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and has been swept to Spain by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, it was revealed today.
The divorced couple, who are rumoured to have rekindled their relationship, were seen getting off a private jet at Malaga Airport yesterday following Epstein’s suicide in New York last week.
The Duke and Duchess were driven by limousine to the luxury Sotogrande resort, where they have holidayed together since 2009 often in their favourite private villa valued at upwards of £38million.
Fergie left Balmoral suddenly yesterday after the Duke of Edinburgh turned up early for his summer holiday and still refuses to be under the same roof as his former daughter-in-law.
The Duke of York was expected to spend a whole week at the Queen’s Scottish estate, but was pictured boarding the private jet heading to the Spanish south coast yesterday afternoon.
Prince Andrew boards a private jet with his dog yesterday before meeting his ex-wife the Duchess of York at a private airport in Hampshire and flying together to Spain
Prince Andrew is pictured with Epstein in Central Park in New York in February 2011. The Duke may be dragged deeper into the Epstein scandal
On Sunday his ex-wife left and they are understood to have met at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire on Wednesday, where they flew together Malaga.
A royal insider told The Sun last night: ‘The Duchess insisted she go on holiday with the Duke to look after him and show the world she stands by him’.
For years the divorcees have quietly slipped off together to a secluded mansion near Sotogrande in Spain.
Andrew and Sarah apparently fell in love with a lavish property in Spain because it offers almost complete privacy.
The main house they have used is surrounded by secluded woodland and fragrant pine trees.
Security includes a high electric gate – once through that, it’s about a mile before arriving at the main building.
A 12ft perimeter fence at the back of the property also helps deter unwanted visitors.
With 350 acres of prime parkland and pasture, lakes, woods and a polo ground, the secluded estate was recently valued at £38million.
At the weekend, the Queen sat next to her son on their way to church on the grounds of Balmoral, a day after it emerged Epstein has killed himself in a US jail.
Andrew looks positively gleeful as he heads to church with his family, while the Queen’s smile is not quite so wide
Virginia Roberts, then 17 and one of Epstein’s accusers, is photographed with Prince Andrew and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001
The Prince shared a car with his mother and daughter, Princess Beatrice, to Kirk on the Scottish estate, while Charles and Camilla drove themselves.
Buckingham Palace said they did not comment on travel arrangements, but it is believed it was a ‘planned departure’ and he did not cut his trip short.
It came as the Duchess of York was said to have left Balmoral early, amid claims she was ushered out when the Duke of Edinburgh refused to be under the same roof as her.
It is said he accuses her of having publicly humiliated the Queen and the royal family following her divorce from Andrew in 1996.
Prince Philip has refused to be under the same roof as Sarah Ferguson since her divorce from Prince Andrew more than 20 years ago. It is said he accuses her of publicly humiliating the Queen and the royal family.
The raid comes days after the 66-year-old was found dead by suicide in his New York jail cell early on Saturday morning
Some had hoped their appearance together at Princess Eugenie’s wedding last year had signalled a thaw in relations.
But Balmoral sources said the Duchess, who arrived on Thursday night, had to unexpectedly leave for London, sparking speculation within the royal household. She was spotted catching a British Airways flight at nearby Aberdeen Airport yesterday afternoon. The Queen began allowing the Duchess to join the annual family gathering at Balmoral about six years ago.
But an insider said: ‘In previous years the duchess has left the day before the Queen’s husband arrives. This year he arrived yesterday, several days earlier than expected, which is rather strange, so the duchess left.’ She was set to spend up to a week with Prince Andrew and their daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday, was accused of arranging to have sex with dozens of underage girls at his residences in New York and Florida.
His body was discovered at 6.30am at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan, hours after a court in New York released 2,000 pages of previously sealed legal documents.
One document repeated the allegation, which the Prince has always denied, that Andrew had sex with a 17 year old girl.
The court papers repeated claims that the Duke slept with Virginia Roberts, 17 at the time and one of Epstein’s ‘sex slaves’, and groped a 21-year-old woman. The Prince denies the claims and the court record judge later threw out Miss Roberts’ allegations against Prince Andrew and ordered them to be struck from the record as being ‘immaterial and impertinent’.
Lawyers for his alleged victims said Epstein had ‘cheated justice’ and expect the criminal investigation to focus on British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a mutual friend of Epstein and the Duke.
The latest legal documents claim she ‘operated as … Epstein’s procurer of under age girls’. She has repeatedly denied involvement in his crimes.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement on behalf of Prince Andrew strongly denying any wrongdoing.
Prince Andrew has strenuously denied the allegations of ‘impropriety with underage minors’ as ‘categorically untrue’ and the allegations naming him were struck out of the earlier proceedings.
Miss Maxwell also denies any wrongdoing.
Asked if the Duke of York would respond to the news of his former friend’s death, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘This relates to proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party.
‘Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.’
In 2015 Buckingham Palace issued a dramatic and unprecedented denial that he slept with Miss Roberts, saying; ‘It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.
‘Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.’
It was claimed today that Epstein’s ‘little black book’ contained the names of 301 of Britain’s richest and most powerful people.
As well as Prince Andrew, it is alleged that it included Sir Mick Jagger, Tony Blair, Sir Richard Branson, and the Andrew’s former wife Sarah Ferguson.
The American paedophile cultivated an extraordinary cache of more than 1,000 phone numbers and email addresses for hundreds of famous names across the Atlantic.
Epstein is said to have written down 16 phone numbers for his friend Prince Andrew including a mobile number and landlines for Sandringham and Balmoral, where the prince once invited him for a visit.
There are also 18 numbers for Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who once had a £15,000 dept paid off by Epstein, according to the Mirror.
Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair is recorded once, while his former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson has ten numbers recorded, including one marked ‘direct line’ one marked ‘home’ and one marked ‘country home’.
Other names and numbers in his book are also said to include Sir Mick Jagger, Sir David Frost, Richard Branson, Naomi Campbell, and a number of members of the House of Lords.
FBI agents were seen raiding Jeffrey Epstein’s US Virgin Island Little St James on Monday morning and afternoon, exclusive DailyMailTV footage shows
Other royal connections in the list include ‘Charles Althorp’, meaning Charles, Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother, and Rosa Monckton, the late princess’s best friend.
Jeffrey Epstein was ‘found hanging in his jail cell using a bed sheet tied to the top bunk bed’
The cell Epstein would have been held in have ‘paper level sheets’, a steel frame bed you cannot move, no light fixtures and no bars
Jeffrey Epstein was found ‘unresponsive’ at around 6.30am in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, New York Post reported.
Staffers were unable to revive him. He was then rushed to the infirmary inside the jail.
From there, he was placed in an ambulance and taken to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
Since Epstein’s suicide, there has been widespread speculation as to how he managed to kill himself after an earlier failed attempt to take his own life last month.
Prison procedure dictates that an inmate goes through a screening process to determine if they are at risk of harming or killing themselves.
The ‘book’ is also said to contain contacts of Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of Robert Maxwell, including her extended family, friends and brief acquaintances.
The book is now in the hands of the FBI – but there is no suggestion that the people named knew of Epstein’s crimes and many will never have met him.
A spokesman for Richard Branson said previously: ‘Jeffrey Epstein has the island next door to Necker but Richard has literally only met him once for about five minutes. That’s the extent of it.’
Epstein also kept another diary with the names of over 100 ‘recruits’ from areas where he had residences, including New York and Palm Beach, Florida, as well as Paris.
Prosecutors believe he orchestrated a network of students who were lined up by other young women and then forced to satisfy the hedge fund billionaire’s wishes.
Epstein’s private island was raided by the FBI this week.
More than a dozen agents arrived on speedboats at the luxury Caribbean property – dubbed ‘Paedophile Island’.
It came only hours after high-flying friends of the disgraced late financier were warned that they ‘should not rest easy’.
Meanwhile sources said the Duchess, who arrived on Thursday night, had to unexpectedly leave for London, sparking speculation within the royal household.
She was spotted catching a British Airways flight at nearby Aberdeen Airport on Sunday afternoon. The Queen began allowing the Duchess to join the annual family gathering at Balmoral about six years ago.
But an insider said: ‘In previous years the duchess has left the day before the Queen’s husband arrives.
‘This year he arrived several days earlier than expected, which is rather strange, so the duchess left.’