Prince Andrew spoke out today to defend his former friendship with disgraced paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, insisting that ‘at no stage’ did he see or suspect criminal behaviour.
The Prince spoke out amid intense scrutiny over his close relationship with the paedophile billionaire after he killed himself in a Manhattan prison two weeks ago.
In a lengthy statement, the Duke of York admitted it was a ‘mistake and error’ to see Epstein in 2010 after his 2008 conviction for sex with a child but he insisted did not ‘witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction’.
In a statement, Andrew said: ‘It is apparent to me since the suicide of Mr Epstein that there has been an immense amount of media speculation about so much in his life.
‘This is particularly the case in relation to my former association or friendship with Mr Epstein.
The Duke of York has said that ‘at no stage during the limited time I spent with’ disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein ‘did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction’
‘Therefore I am eager to clarify the facts to avoid further speculation.
‘I met Mr Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year. I have stayed in a number of his residences.
‘At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.
‘I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know.
‘I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and behaviour.
‘His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
‘This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr Epstein’s lifestyle.
He added: ‘I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.’
His statement comes after a former police officer claimed that Epstein’s ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell made several secret visits to Buckingham Palace to visit Prince Andrew.
Paul Page, who served in the Royal Protection Command from 1998 until 2004, alleged that Maxwell and several other women made trips to the palace to meet with the Duke of York.
He said that the female guests wouldn’t sign the Palace’s gate book and royal protection officers would even drive them home, or face an angry Andrew who’d become ‘abusive’ if challenged.
Ghislaine Maxwell and the Duke of York in newly resurfaced pictures arriving at the wedding of Aurelia Cecil and Rupert Stephenson at St Michaels and All Angels Church in Compton Chamberlayne in Wiltshire in 2000. A former police officer has now claimed that Prince Andrew invited Maxwell to make ‘secret trips’ to Buckingham Palace
Video obtained by the Mail on Sunday shows Andrew waving to a woman from inside Epstein’s New York mansion and the royal has been dogged by claims by Epstein’s alleged ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts that she slept with him three times.
The Prince categorically denies Roberts allegations and there is no suggestion he slept with underage women.
The Palace also issued a statement calling Mr Page’s claims ‘unsubstantiated’ and drawing attention to his conviction for fraud and his time spent in prison.
It comes as he faces further lurid allegations of having had more than 1,000 lovers, according to the Sun.
The Duke of York leaves the wedding of a former girlfriend at the Parish Church of St Michael in Compton Chamberlayne near Salisbury in 2000. Ghislaine Maxwell is in the gold dress
Prince Andrew walks ahead of Ghislaine Maxwell at the wedding in Salisbury in 2000
Maxwell has been accused of acting as a ‘Madam’ and recruiting girls to become ‘sex slaves’ for Epstein, though she has denied the claims.
Ex-Met officer Page made the allegations against the Duke of York during a 2009 trial where he was accused of £3million investment fraud.
Page’s statement was never disclosed to the jury but have now been revealed for the first time.
According to the Mirror, Page claimed: ‘It was not just the royalty protection officers who abused their position, members of the Royal Household also frequently did.
‘The biggest culprit was Prince Andrew. Andrew would often have lady friends come to visit, including frequent visits by Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the disgraced late Robert Maxwell.’
Page was found guilty of the fraud and was given six years in jail though his boss, former Chief Superintendent and Head of Royal Protection Dai Davies, confirmed some of his claims.
He said: ‘This did happen. Royals can bring their own guests into the Palace unvetted and unchecked. That’s their prerogative. It is their home.
‘Unless there was anything that would give cause for concern royal officers could not intervene.
Prince Andrew pictured with Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts and his ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell
Andrew would reportedly become ‘abusive’ if challenged by officers at Buckingham Palace about his female visitors
‘It was particularly the case with that individual who had a reputation for being fairly succinct with his words if police tried to intervene. He has been known to be abrupt with police, including myself on occasions.
‘It’s fair to say and well-documented that he was involved with a number of fairly glamorous good looking young ladies but I have never been aware, then or since, that any were underage.’
Buckingham Palace told Mail Online: ‘During the trial, which resulted in a conviction for fraud, Mr Page made a series of allegations about the Royal Household and members of the Royal Family, none of which were substantiated.’
It comes as the Duke of York has told friends he fears never being able to return to the US with the Jeffrey Epstein case hanging over his head.
Andrew has not set foot in the country since early 2017 and sources say plans to launch a business initiative there later this year have been put on ice.
According to the Mail’s sources, the prince is concerned about being drawn into civil proceedings brought by some of paedophile Epstein’s many victims.
Andrew’s (left) friendship with Epstein (right) goes back to least 1999. In 2000 the financier and his ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, were invited by Andrew to a party at Windsor Castle thrown by the Queen
At least five women who say they were abused by the financier have filed lawsuits against his £458million estate after he was found hanged in his New York prison cell on August 10 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Since Epstein’s arrest last month, Andrew has been trying to distance himself from his old friend, declaring himself ‘appalled’ by reports of the ‘alleged crimes’.
But the efforts have been undermined by the emergence of details of how he hosted the paedophile at Balmoral, and by pictures of the royal at Epstein’s New York mansion in 2010 – two years after the banker had been convicted of sex with a child.
The insider told the Mail: ‘Andrew has openly said he can’t see how he can go back to the US at the moment with everything that is going on.
Andrew travelled to the States twice on official business in 2013, taking in Florida, California and New York but there was no publicly-recorded trip in either 2014, 2015 or 2016. He visited again in May 2017, travelling around California (pictured), but has not gone back since and has no plans to go for the foreseeable future
‘I know this is a source of enormous frustration for him as it is one of his favourite places in the world to go.’ The source said that the prince had held ‘high hopes’ of taking his successful Pitch@Palace scheme – a Dragons’ Den-style initiative for entrepreneurs – to the States in the next year or so.
It something he is believed to have raised when US President Donald Trump – another former friend of Epstein – came to the UK for his state visit earlier this year.
The two men had already met when Mr Trump threw a private lunch for Andrew at Trump Tower on a visit to New York in September 2006.
But the source added: ‘Plans to take Pitch to the US have definitely been put on ice for the time being. Andrew is very disappointed as he has long been very keen to get a foothold out there with it.’
The Duke of York has been keeping a low profile by playing golf at Valderra main the luxurious development of Sotogrande and
Andrew’s friendship with Epstein goes back to at least 1999. In 2000 the financier and his ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, were invited by Andrew to a party at Windsor Castle thrown by the Queen.
Miss Maxwell, also a friend of Andrew, has been accused by some of Epstein’s victims of being his ‘procurer’, a charge she denies.
Epstein and Miss Maxwell were also guests of Andrew at the Queen’s Sandringham and Balmoral Estates and holidayed with him in Florida and Thailand.
In 2011 Andrew was forced to quit as a UK trade envoy after being pictured meeting Epstein following his release from a child sex jail term.
One of the women who have filed lawsuits against Epstein’s estate – Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre (pictured aged 17 with Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001) – has also claimed she was forced by Epstein to have sex with Andrew on three occasions between 1999 and 2001
Andrew travelled to the States twice on official business in 2013, taking in Florida, California and New York but there was no publicly-recorded trip in either 2014, 2015 or 2016. He visited again in May 2017, travelling around California, but has not gone back since and has no plans to go for the foreseeable future.
One of the women who have filed lawsuits against Epstein’s estate – Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre – has also claimed she was forced by Epstein to have sex with Andrew on three occasions between 1999 and 2001.
The allegations, first made in 2015, were officially struck from the court records by a judge, who ruled they were ‘immaterial’, and there is no suggestion Andrew has anything to personally fear in respect of those allegations.
Now French probe sex trafficking ring
French prosecutors have opened an inquiry into claims of rape and sexual abuse against Epstein.
They said the allegations involve women and girls as young as 15. Prosecutors will also investigate claims that he and others participated in a vast child sex trafficking ring for years.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said: ‘The investigations will focus on potential crimes committed against French victims on national territory as well as abroad and on suspects who are French citizens.’
The move came after US investigators turned up links in France to the disgraced financier, who died this month while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges. Epstein had just arrived in the US from Paris, where he owned an expensive apartment, when he was arrested.
One of Epstein’s close friends was the French modelling tycoon Jean-Luc Brunel, who was accused in court documents of procuring young girls for Epstein and rape. Brunel has denied the accusations but has not been heard of since the financier was charged in early July.
But sources close to the royal say he appears to be sufficiently concerned about being forced to co-operate over other allegations against Epstein to not travel back to the US.
Just days ago Miss Roberts’s lawyer Brad Edwards urged the prince to co-operate in order to help the victims of Epstein secure justice. He said: ‘I look forward to co-ordinating a formal deposition where he will be given the opportunity to tell us everything he knows.’
US legal experts say that if Andrew is considered to have information relevant to any of the civil proceedings, someone might want to ‘depose’ him – ask him to give a statement.
It is also possible he could be considered a witness in any criminal proceedings surrounding Epstein’s death.
Lawyers say it would be difficult to force him to go to the US to give evidence but, if he were to set foot in the country, he could be subpoenaed for his testimony.
In response to the Mail’s story, Buckingham Palace said: ‘We would not comment on alleged conversations or the speculative premise behind the question but would point out that the case you are referring to relates to proceedings in the United States, to which the Duke of York is not a party. Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors is categorically untrue.
‘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.’
A source said that when working as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment between 2001 and 2011, Andrew was asked to travel regularly to the US.
Since relinquishing this role in 2011, they maintained Andrew had continued to travel to the US, but claimed that his focus, particularly with Pitch@Palaces, had been on ‘other markets’.
Prince Andrew ‘has had more than 1,000 lovers’ but would never sleep with teenagers, friends claim as he faces further scrutiny over links with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein
Prince Andrew is facing claims that he has had more than 1,000 lovers in more lurid allegations following the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.
According to the Sun, close friends say sex is ‘a big thing’ in Prince Andrew’s life, though they insisted that he is ‘not into young girls’.
The Duke of York has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks after his close relationship with billionaire paedophile Epstein was revealed, with photos showing him with his arm around the waist of the disgraced financier’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts, then aged 17.
However, Andrew, according to the friend, is just into ‘straightforward sex’ and has never slept with teenagers.
The source added that the Duke of York has balanced a ‘playboy’ lifestyle with his royal duties and responsibilities to his family.
Prince Andrew’s playboy lifestyle and apparent desire for new relationships is also the reason he hasn’t re-married Sarah Ferguson, friends claim
Andrew’s apparent desire for new relationships is also the reason he hasn’t re-married Sarah Ferguson, his inner circle claim, though the former couple remain close.
The friend said: ‘He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t take drugs and never has, but sex is his big thing in life.
‘He was known as Randy Andy for a reason when he was younger and it’s never really stopped.
‘Travelling all over the world as the UK trade ambassador and for other royal duties has given him access to some beautiful women and he’s taken full advantage.’
Prince Andrew was introduced to Epstein in the 1990s and remained a friend even after the financier served a 13-month sentence for having sex with underage girls and became a registered sex offender.
Prince Andrew with one of his former flames, US actress Koo Stark who he once dated
The Duke of York was also romantically linked to Bond girls Carolyn Seaward (left) and Katie Rabett (right)
Epstein’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts alleged in court documents that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York when she was 17.
She claimed that Andrew slept with her three times, though the royal has strongly denied the allegations.
And his close friend insisted that, even though he has had ‘liaisons’ with more than 1,000 women, he’s not interested in teenage girls as beautiful women find him ‘appealing’.
Prince Andrew brushed off the furore surrounding him this week with a round of golf in Spain, where he is on holiday with ex-wife Sarah.
He remains close with Sarah because he needs the ‘stability’, according to the friend who admitted that most of Andrew’s romances quickly fizzle out.
Divorced couple Andrew and Fergie were seen getting off a private jet at Malaga Airport last week following Epstein’s suicide in New York.
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.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement said this week: ‘The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes… and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.’
Prince ‘was given foot massage by 2 Russian women at Epstein mansion’
Prince Andrew was seen inside the New York apartment of Jeffrey Epstein being given a foot massage by two young Russian women, according to a report in the US.
Literary agent John Brockman said he walked into the Upper East Side mansion to find a middle-aged Englishman being given the massage.
The man, who wore a suit and braces, was introduced to Mr Brockman, an influential agent representing leading science writers, as ‘Andy’.
It was only when ‘Andy’ started to complain bitterly that, unlike him, Prince Albert of Monaco could misbehave as he liked in private and get away with it that his identity dawned on Mr Brockman.
Prince Andrew was photographed at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion in 2010 waving off a lady who was seen coming and going through the front door
‘At that point I realised that the recipient of Irina’s foot massage was His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, Duke of York,’ he told a client in an email exchange published in a US magazine.
The incident, which appears to date from early 2011 following Epstein’s release from prison on a child sex conviction, provides further potentially compromising evidence of the Duke’s relationship with the alleged paedophile and sex trafficker.
Although Buckingham Palace refused to comment yesterday on Mr Brockman’s account, it will put further pressure on Prince Andrew to explain his involvement with Epstein.
The financier was found hanged in his jail cell on August 10 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Commenting on behalf of the prince, a Palace spokesman said last night: ‘We would reiterate our earlier statement, ‘Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors is categorically untrue’.’
Mr Brockman’s description of his brief encounter with Andrew – which a Palace insider insisted was ‘not an account we recognise’ – would roughly tally with a reported four-day stay he had at Epstein’s home over Christmas in 2010.
Email that put spotlight on Andrew
From: John Brockman
To: Evgeny Morozov
Last time I visited his house (the largest private residence in NYC), I walked in to find him in a sweatsuit and a British guy in a suit with suspenders, getting foot massages from two young well-dressed Russian women.
After grilling me for a while about cyber-security, the Brit, named Andy, was commenting on the Swedish authorities and the charges against Julian Assange…
At that point I realized that the recipient of Irina’s foot massage was His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
The prince was guest of honour at a ‘welcome home’ party for Epstein, recently released from a Florida prison. During his stay, a string of attractive young women were pictured coming and going. In a recently released video, the Duke was seen furtively waving goodbye to one, later identified as former Australian prime minister Paul Keating’s daughter Katherine.
Mr Brockman has now shed light on what might have been going on behind the front door of Epstein’s palatial 71st Street home.
Others who mixed with Epstein have also recounted how his royal friend was referred to simply as ‘Andy’ and how they didn’t immediately realise who he was.
Mr Brockman’s meeting with the prince was revealed by science writer Evgeny Morozov, who Mr Brockman had urged to meet Epstein, a generous donor to scientific projects. In an email exchange dated September 2013, Mr Brockman wrote: ‘Last time I visited his house (the largest private residence in NYC), I walked in to find him in a sweatsuit and a British guy in a suit with suspenders [braces], getting foot massages from two young well-dressed Russian women.
‘After grilling me for a while about cyber security, the Brit, named Andy, was commenting on the Swedish authorities and the charges against Julian Assange. ‘We think they’re liberal in Sweden, but it’s more like Northern England as opposed to Southern Europe,’ he said.’
The Duke, said Mr Brockman, added: ‘In Monaco, Albert works 12 hours a day but at 9pm, when he goes out, he does whatever he wants, and nobody cares. But if I do it, I’m in big trouble.’
Mr Brockman said he only then realised who he was talking to. He said that a week later, the New York Post ran a picture of Andrew and Epstein walking in Central Park under the headline ‘The Prince and the Perv’. In the ensuing furore, the Duke gave up his role as UK trade ambassador.
Mr Morozov said Mr Brockman was clearly ‘acting as Epstein’s PR man’, vaguely +
mentioning his controversial history in the email by saying ‘he got into trouble and spent a year in jail in Florida’.
The prince said last week that he was ‘appalled’ by the reports of Epstein’s ‘alleged crimes’.