Flight logbooks belong- ing to the pilot of Jeffrey Epstein’s private aircraft suggest that the tycoon’s Gulfstream jet took off from Palm Beach bound for Newfoundland on the evening of March 5, 2001. It refuelled in Canada before the next and longest leg of their journey, to Paris.
On March 8, the plane flew from France to Granada in Spain and on again to Tangier. The following day it left Morocco for London Luton Airport. On board that final leg according to the passenger manifest were Epstein, Maxwell, Virginia Roberts and a young woman said to be Maxwell’s assistant.
Miss Roberts has described her alleged recollection of the next day’s events in a number of media interviews, legal depositions and, in most detail, the 140-page manuscript of her unpublished memoir Billionaire Playboys Club. They are largely consistent with each other.
The night of March 9 was spent, she said, at Maxwell’s mews house in Kinnerton Street, Belgravia. The following morning she was woken by Maxwell.
In her memoir she recalled Maxwell saying: ‘We’re going shopping for a new ensemble . . . to go dancing with a Prince of England this evening’.
Miss Roberts wrote: ‘Hoping it would be one of the younger generations, I was disappointed when she told me he was the Duke of York.’
Abstemious: Andrew, with a glass of water, at Tramp with Fi Sangster
In her memoir and other accounts, she says the Duke arrived at Kinnerton Street ‘just after six o’clock in the evening’.
The quartet had tea and biscuits together, during which the Prince guessed correctly that Miss Roberts was only 17 years old. Meanwhile, two royal bodyguards waited in a car outside. Miss Roberts said she had thought it a good idea to take ‘a few Xanax’ to overcome her mounting anxiety.
During his Newsnight interview, Andrew admitted that he had visited Maxwell’s house — and seemed to know the layout well — but not on the night alleged.
In her memoir, Miss Roberts described how over tea the ensemble took turns ‘slandering’ the Duke’s ‘recently divorced ex-wife Fergie’.
This allegation is challenged by acquaintances of the Duke.
They say he has always remained fiercely loyal to the Duchess and would never countenance others ‘slandering’ her in front of him, let alone do it himself before a stranger. They also point out that the couple were not ‘recently divorced’ in 2001. They had separated almost a decade before and divorced in 1996. That said, we now know that her absence from the UK that day was due in part to her reckless spendthrift tendencies.
MY FAIR LADY – OR OFF TO TRAMP?
Asked on Newsnight if he remembered ‘dancing at Tramp’ on March 10, the Duke answered: ‘No, that couldn’t have happened because . . . I was at home with the children.’
SWEATING OUT THE TRUTH…
Prince Andrew sweating, leaving Chinawhite nightclub, London
It was one of the jaw-dropping moments in the Duke’s car-crash BBC interview with Emily Maitlis.
Prince Andrew insisted he wasn’t a party prince and did not sweat ‘profusely’, as was alleged by Virginia Roberts, because he was shot at in the Falklands and had a rare medical condition which meant he could not sweat.
But his claims are seriously undermined after pictures of him apparently sweating in public emerged, as here.
That evening, BBC1 was showing The National Lottery Jet Set, in which contestants had a chance ‘to experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous’.
BBC2 broadcast an appreciation of the musical My Fair Lady. Perfect sofa viewing for a single father and his two young daughters.
But Miss Roberts claims that by this time the single father was partying with the ‘jet set’, some 25 miles to the north-east of his two Princesses.
In her manuscript for her proposed book, she described how, after drinking tea, the Epstein party and the Duke went to a ‘restaurant (which) was a close drive for us . . . Andrew, his two guards and his driver following behind us. I was seated next to the Prince for dinner.’
In a 2015 legal deposition, she is more specific about the venue. ‘We all went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.’
A friend of the Duke says of this claim: ‘No. It was very rare for him to go to restaurants, particularly in London because (the attention) was quite uncomfortable (then). It’s something he’s only done in the last five years.’
The friend added: ‘The only Chinese restaurant he can (ever) recall going to in London is China Tang at the Dorchester. And that opened in 2005.’
In her manuscript, her depositions and media interviews, Miss Roberts is consistent on what happened after dinner.
‘The next place we were going was much more my style,’ she writes. ‘We pulled up next to a nightclub called ‘Tramp’ . . . one of the most exclusive haunts in the world for the rich and famous to be seen.’
Certainly, for more than half a century, Tramp has been a late-night honeypot for the beau monde. It has long been fertile ground for Fleet Street gossip columnists, but it appears Miss Roberts’ raunchy dance with the Duke escaped their attention — and that of the paparazzi who usually patrol its doorstep.
Miss Roberts went on: ‘Andrew’s guards waited outside while we all went to hit the dancefloor.’ And what a spectacle they must have made together; the Queen’s middle-aged second son and the crop-topped teenager. If indeed they were there together.
Miss Roberts recalled that the Duke was ‘moving his hands across the curves of my body, not to shy away from the fact that he was in public, he was whispering sweet nothings into my ear and kissing my neck. I would just giggle not really knowing how to reply to an aging man with a bad smile and terrible moves . . .
‘After an hour of pelvic smashing to the DJ’s pumping mixes we finally exited the floor, His Royal Highness was dripping with sweat and ready to embark onto a quieter scene.’
‘ALCOHOL IN THE VIP SECTION’
In a ‘journal’ leaked to Radar Online website, Miss Roberts is reported to have written: ‘We were let in to the VIP section where Andrew did not hesitate to grab us both an alcoholic cocktail and found a table in a corner of the extremely packed club.’
Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein pose for a portrait during a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida, February 12, 2000
In the manuscript of her memoir, she wrote: ‘Andrew went to the bar to grab us all drinks. He came back with sparkling water for Jeffrey and a cocktail for the rest of us, already knowing that Jeffrey never drank alcohol. We downed our glasses.’ In an interview with NBC TV, she recalled: ‘Prince Andrew got me alcohol, it was in the VIP section, I’m pretty sure it was vodka.’
These details of the Duke’s alleged drinking, his journeys to and from the bar, the existence of a ‘VIP section’ at Tramp and his bodyguards waiting in the street have been challenged by those who know Andrew and the nightclub.
Breaking royal protocol, three of the Duke’s former equerries who served him over a period of more than 30 years spoke to the Mail.
EYEWITNESS FBI TURNED DOWN
Shukri Walker (pictured) — also known as Shukri Mohamed
So far only one person has come forward to state publicly that they saw Prince Andrew dancing with Virginia Roberts in Tramp on the night of March 10, 2001.
In August of this year, more than 19 years after they allegedly shared the dancefloor, a London businesswoman gave an account of what she saw.
Somali-born Shukri Walker (pictured) — also known as Shukri Mohamed — said she had decided to speak out after seeing the Duke’s Newsnight denials. She told the Sun in a front-page ‘exclusive’ story that she had also been in Tramp on the night in question and claimed to remember the Duke — and in considerable detail. In fact, she claimed she had trodden on his foot on the dancefloor. Andrew had said ‘No problem’ when she apologised.
She reportedly recalled: ‘He looked like he was having a great time. And he was with this young girl who was close to my own age, perhaps even a bit younger than me.’ (Records suggest Ms Shukri was around 28 at the time.) The young woman ‘wasn’t smiling, it was the opposite of smiles’.
Ms Walker added: ‘They were with the woman who has just been arrested, Ghislaine Maxwell, and Epstein. I will never forget the night because I was told this is a real Prince.’ Andrew wiped the back of his hand across his face several times, she claimed.
Her lawyer told the Sun that they had offered her testimony to the FBI, but it had been politely declined.
When approached by the Mail at her home in north London, Ms Walker told us: ‘I am a sex-trafficking victim.’ She claimed journalists hadn’t (previously) ‘wanted to know’ her story. The Mail was then contacted by an American law firm which is representing Ms Walker — as well as a number of Epstein’s alleged victims. A spokeswoman for the firm said: ‘She is holding off on any more interviews at this time.’
His equerry at the time of the alleged Tramp incident said: ‘The portrayed party animal, you know, two o’clock in the morning and anything about the drinking stuff, it’s not him at all. He never touches alcohol.’
He said of the dancing allegation. ‘The idea of him dancing like that with all eyes on him is . . . unimaginable.’
An older equerry, who is still in touch with the Duke decades after working with him, confirmed: ‘In my 30 odd years I’ve never seen him take a single drink. He doesn’t even drink a loyal toast from what I can remember. Any lapses of judgment are certainly not alcohol-fuelled.’
A third, who worked with the Duke more recently, said: ‘I find it quite funny when he is reported as having downed cocktails. He doesn’t even drink Coca-Cola or anything like that. It’s just plain, straightforward spring water.
‘At engagements we’d ask for water in a water glass because people can misconstrue it if you’re holding water in a champagne glass or water in a wine glass.’
Another acquaintance said ‘The idea of Andrew queuing at a bar to buy a round of drinks is ludicrous.’
Andrew added his own voice to these challenges when he said on Newsnight: ‘I don’t know where the bar is in Tramp.’
Further, Giuseppe ‘Guido’ Guida, the ‘legendary’ maitre d’ at Tramp, has confirmed to the Mail that in all his decades of service he’d never seen the Duke drink alcohol. Mr Guida was still in post on the key night in question in March 2001. Now retired, he told us: ‘I can’t comment on what happened in a private room but his (the Duke’s) behaviour in public was impeccable.’
Mr Guida said he found it ‘hard’ to imagine that the Duke danced suggestively with a 17-year-old girl for a whole hour inside Tramp. Certainly he never saw it happen, he said, though his duties, he admitted, sometimes took him from the public area and into Tramp’s kitchen.
‘I only recall the Duke dancing with the Duchess,’ he said. (Another former senior member of the Tramp hierarchy recalled the Duke taking Koo Stark to the club on a date in the early 1980s, but again could not recall the Duke dancing with a teenager).
Mr Guida said that Tramp did not have a VIP section. The Duke would normally sit in the ‘restaurant or the discotheque area’. His bodyguards sat at another table, if there was room. All guests would have to sign the visitors’ book, he said. (Alas, the ledger from 2001 can’t be traced). Mr Guida remembered Ghislaine Maxwell visiting the club, as one of her brothers was a member. Tramp had an over-18 age policy, but it was not strictly enforced. Visitors could wear jeans.
There were ‘always’ paparazzi outside the club, he recalled. It was ‘impossible’ to slip in and out unnoticed. As Miss Roberts suggested, one went there ‘to be seen’. And yet the Prince and the teenager were not.
A former senior royalty protection officer, who looked after the Duke, told the Mail via an intermediary: ‘Every time I have been to a nightclub with ‘H’ (the Duke’s police nickname) there have been paps outside as we left. It was almost a given.’
The Mail has contacted more than a dozen paparazzi or picture agencies who were working the West End nightclub beat in March 2001. None have any pictures of the Duke or Epstein, Maxwell or Roberts arriving at or leaving Tramp on the night in question.
Yet there does exist one photograph of the Duke together with an attractive blonde at Tramp, in March 2001. It even can be viewed on the internet.
The picture was taken on March 13, at the 40th birthday party of his friend Guy Sangster — just three days after his alleged party night with Virginia Roberts. A photographer from Tatler’s Bystander society column snapped him in conversation with the racing tycoon’s wife, Fi.
HRH is wearing a conservative suit and tie and clutching . . . the inevitable glass of water.