Princess Beatrice’s engagement is a rare piece of good news for her father Prince Andrew as Jeffrey Epstein’s death and claims he slept with one of his sex slaves engulfed the House of York.
The Duke of York’s friendship with the disgraced billionaire paedophile has drawn him into a scandal that has shaken the royal family.
But amid turmoil in his personal life, next year Andrew will walk his eldest daughter, 31, down the aisle when she marries Italian property millionaire Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 34.
The couple will wed after a whirlwind 11-month romance and said today: ‘We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can’t wait to actually be married’.
Her parents Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are delighted by the news amid rumours the divorcees may even be rekindling their relationship.
The ray of sunshine of Princess Beatrice’s engagement came as her father Prince Andrew (left on September 9) is dogged by his links to Jeffrey Epstein (right), a billionaire paedophile accused of enslaving young girls and forcing them to have sex with his friends
Virginia Roberts (pictured) alleges she was coerced by paedophile US businessman Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the Duke, into having sex with Andrew on three occasions
Virginia Roberts photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001
The former couple holidayed together in Spain earlier this month as the Duke of York was rocked by Jeffrey Epstein’s unexpected death in a New York prison.
Fergie admits she’s crying ‘tears of joy’ over the ‘sensational news’ of Princess Beatrice’s engagement
Sarah Ferguson revealed she shed ‘tears of joy’ at the ‘sensational news’ of her eldest daughter’s Beatrice’s engagement to property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
The couple announced their happy news this morning and the Duchess of York took to social media swiftly to share how the latest regal announcement has left her and ex-husband Prince Andrew feeling like they are the ‘luckiest people ever’.
She wrote on Instagram: ‘I know what mother feels so I have tears of joy. I am so proud of this sensational news. Andrew and I are just the luckiest people ever to have two great son-in-laws.’
Fergie shared a string of engagement photos, revealing that her younger daughter Eugenie had a hand in sharing the happy news by taking the colour photographs of her sister and her groom-to-be herself.
Fergie wrote: ‘@princesseugenie took the colour photographs as my girls are so close. Beatrice and Edo wanted her to capture this special moment.’
The royal added: ‘The black and white photographs were taken by Misan Harriman at Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park.’
Fergie also included a note from the esteemed photographer behind the lens, penning: ‘Quote from Misan Harriman: “Everything clicks when they are together and that’s exactly what my lens captured. It was an honour to observe and document such love.’
And in the chaos that followed, Victoria Roberts Giuffre appeared on American television repeating her allegations against the Duke of York.
The 36-year-old alleges she was coerced by paedophile US businessman Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the Duke, into having sex with Andrew on three occasions.
She said: ‘I know their faces and I know what they’ve done to me.’
Miss Giuffre, appearing with four other alleged Epstein victims, again claimed that she once had sex with the prince in a bathroom — and that he had said ‘thank you’ afterwards.
The 35-year-old was a teenager when she appeared in a now notorious photograph with Andrew’s arm around her waist, alongside Epstein’s friend, the British socialite and daughter of Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell, now 57.
She also alleged that beforehand she was told by Miss Maxwell: ‘I want you to do for him what you do for [Jeffrey] Epstein.’
Miss Giufre said that Andrew was a ‘participant’, adding that even though the duke may deny it ‘he knows the truth and I know the truth’.
The prince has always denied any inappropriate behaviour or being aware of any such behaviour from Epstein, and in 2015 her allegations about Andrew were thrown out by a US judge who ordered them struck out as ‘immaterial and impertinent’.
She repeated her claim that she was loaned out to Andrew for sex in March 2001 when she was 17 after Epstein flew her to the London townhouse owned by Miss Maxwell.
At the time, Miss Roberts had been in Epstein’s orbit for months and was being paid to have sex with him at his command. She claimed in court documents that she was loaned out to his friends.
Now a 36-year-old married mother-of-three she said: ‘That first time in London I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and said you’re going to meet a prince today. I didn’t know at that point I was going to be trafficked to that prince.
‘That night Prince Andrew came to her house and we went out to Club Tramp. Prince Andrew got me alcohol, it was in the VIP section, I’m pretty sure it was vodka. Prince Andrew was like let’s dance together, I was like OK.
‘We leave Club Tramp and Ghislaine said he’s coming back to the house and I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein. I couldn’t believe it’. Miss Roberts, who wiped away tears during the interview, said that after sex in the bathroom ‘he wasn’t rude or anything, he said thank you and some kind of soft sentiments like that and left’.
She said: ‘I just couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe that even royalty were involved.’ Miss Roberts has also claimed that Andrew had sex with her in New York and on Epstein’s private island in the Carribean. She said: ‘He denies that it ever happened but he knows the truth and I know the truth’.
Princess Beatrice has become engaged to property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Buckingham Palace has announced
Further black and white pictures taken by Misan Harriman at Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park show the pair cosying up to each other and giggling
Friends of Andrew have spoken of their frustration that the claims, which the duke has consistently denied, were being aired again.
The friends believe they are being ‘goaded’ into making a fresh public statement. Instead, they are sticking to their denial.
Princess Beatrice’s bespoke platinum and diamond engagement ring is by Shaun Leane
A close-up of the ring designed by Eduardo with Shaun Leane shows a round cut diamond ring is flanked by double baguettes on the band
Princess Beatrice’s bespoke platinum and diamond engagement ring is by British jeweller Shaun Leane and is ‘filled with personal and sentimental signifiers.’
The royal, 31, who is engaged to property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 34, was all smiles as she showed off the stunning ring in the official photographs taken by sister Princess Eugenie.
It is a fusion of Victorian and Art Deco designs and is accompanied by two additional matching bands in the distinctive Shaun Leane design hand.
Shaun Leane says of the design: ‘I am so honoured Edoardo chose to work with me to design the engagement ring for Princess Beatrice and to have been involved in this special moment in their lives.’
A friend said: ‘The denial is both specific and categoric. There never has been any sexual connection between Andrew and Virginia Roberts. It would have been immoral for the duke to have been involved with someone so young. It is very difficult for him to prove a negative. The duke feels deeply sorry for these girls. They are victims.’
This week it was claimed that MI6 fears a former American detective may have passed Russia ‘kompromat’ connecting Prince Andrew to the activities of Jeffrey Epstein.
John Mark Dougan, a former deputy in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office, is known to have had contact with Russian official, Pavel Borodin, The Sunday Times reported.
Borodin – who was photographed meeting Dougan in 2013 – is a senior Russian government representative sometimes referred to as a mentor to President Vladimir Putin.
British security sources are understood to be concerned about how much Dougan knows of the original investigation into Epstein, which led to the financier being jailed for 13 months in 2008 in Florida.
There are fears about what material Dougan may have passed on to the Russians.
And on Tuesday French police have raided the former Paris home of Jeffrey Epstein – as pressure intensified for Prince Andrew to help the French investigation.
It follows the Paris prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, launching a probe into alleged abuse carried out by Epstein, the late convicted paedophile financier, on victims as young as 12.
Agents from the Central Office for the Suppression of Violence against Persons carried out a raid on the £7.14m ($8.6m) Epstein apartment in Avenue Foch, next to the Arc de Triomphe, on Monday and Tuesday.
There was also a simultaneous raid on Karin Models, an agency run by Jean-Luc Brunel, who is suspected of helping Epstein procure women.
France Info, the French news outlet, reported: ‘The searches authorised by judges began on Monday at 3pm, and ended on Tuesday at 4am on Tuesday in the apartment of the American financier.
‘According to the testimony of Epstein’s butler in France, whom France Info has met, the apartment has a custom-made massage room, frequented by a large number of women, some of whom had paid relations with the multimillionaire.’
It has been claimed that Prince Andrew could choose to avoid going to France – and America – to avoid any chance of having to speak to police.