Prince Andrew did stay at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion during a trip when it is alleged he slept with a trafficked teenager, the Daily Mail can reveal for the first time.
Contradicting his car crash TV interview, sources have confirmed the Queen’s second son was indeed a guest at the paedophile tycoon’s Manhattan home in April 2001, raising questions about his other recollections of the time.
Andrew, 60, told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis last year: ‘I wasn’t staying there. I may have visited but definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity.’
But a Mail investigation has discovered both the duke and a Scotland Yard bodyguard did spend a night at Epstein’s townhouse, the largest in the city.
It was during this three-day trip to the United States that the prince’s accuser, Virginia Roberts, alleges she slept with the father-of-two for a second time after a previous encounter in London – claims the duke has always vehemently denied.
Prince Andrew, 60, told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis (the interview, pictured) last year: ‘I wasn’t staying there. I may have visited but definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity’
Well-placed sources have confirmed Andrew stayed at Epstein’s £60million home on the final night of his pre-Easter visit to the US in 2001 ‘to save taxpayers’ money’. Pictured: Prince Andrew and Epstein in New York in 2011
Well-placed sources have confirmed Andrew stayed at Epstein’s £60million home on the final night of his pre-Easter visit to the US in 2001 ‘to save taxpayers’ money’. But the insiders stressed that neither Epstein, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell nor Miss Roberts were at the property at the time.
An official itinerary seen by the Daily Mail shows that the duke spent the first night of his US trip at the residence of the British consul general in New York, then flew to Boston for 24 hours, before returning to New York where he slept ‘at a private address’.
That address was Epstein’s home near Central Park, the sources have confirmed.
Our investigations have also uncovered a gap of a few hours set aside in New York for what was called ‘Private Time’ in the duke’s confidential tour itinerary.
Andrew has not been able to explain what he was doing during this time but Miss Roberts and another Epstein ‘masseuse’ have both said they met him in the city.
Contradicting his car crash TV interview (pictured), sources have confirmed the Queen’s second son was indeed a guest at the paedophile tycoon’s Manhattan home in April 2001, raising questions about his other recollections of the time
Andrew strongly denies all her allegations and says he cannot even recall meeting her, despite the pair being apparently pictured together at Miss Maxwell’s London home on March 10, 2001 (pictured)
Miss Roberts, now a mother of three living in Australia, claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with the duke on three occasions in 2001, including in New York around Easter that year, when she was 17.
Andrew strongly denies all her allegations and says he cannot even recall meeting her, despite the pair being apparently pictured together at Miss Maxwell’s London home on March 10, 2001.
When asked by Miss Maitlis on Newsnight about Miss Sjoberg’s Spitting Image account, the prince seemed to concede that he might have visited the property. Andrew told her: ‘I probably did…because of what I was doing I was staying with the consul general which is further down the street on Fifth so I wasn’t…I wasn’t staying there. I may have visited but definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity’
The duke is alleged to have had sex with Miss Roberts in New York at the same time he was accused of a bizarre groping incident involving a ‘Spitting Image’ puppet and another young female at Epstein’s mansion.
The other woman, Johanna Sjoberg, has not alleged any improper conduct by Andrew.
When asked by Miss Maitlis on Newsnight about Miss Sjoberg’s Spitting Image account, the prince seemed to concede that he might have visited the property.
Andrew told her: ‘I probably did…because of what I was doing I was staying with the consul general which is further down the street on Fifth so I wasn’t…I wasn’t staying there. I may have visited but definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity.’
Details of how the prince gave an inaccurate account of his New York sleeping arrangements during his bumbling BBC interview follow a major investigation by this newspaper into the claims made against him by Miss Roberts.
Today we reveal the key findings from our probe into Andrew’s trip to the city. This includes:
- How confidential official documents reveal the duke had made provision for three hours of ‘Private Time’ – around the time he allegedly bedded Miss Roberts at Epstein’s home;
- How neither of his two Scotland Yard bodyguards on the trip, nor his equerry, are able to provide an alibi for this part of his schedule;
- An unprecedented, hour by hour reconstruction of the duke’s reputationally disastrous three-day trip to New York and Boston, including references to official letters, itineraries and flight times;
- How the duke requested the use of a Bentley in New York;
- How key new sources have questioned whether the duke attended all his scheduled appointments on the trip;
- How a Scotland Yard bodyguard insists that Epstein, Maxwell and Virginia had left New York for the tycoon’s private island in the Caribbean when the duke stayed at his paedophile friend’s place on the third night of the trip.
On Saturday – in the first part of our exclusive four-part series on the case – we exposed new doubts over the prince’s extraordinary ‘alibi’ that he was at a party at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey on the day he allegedly first slept with Miss Roberts in London. We revealed that according to a family diary, the duke had booked a manicure at home on the afternoon he says he dropped off Princess Beatrice at the party and that neither she nor the party hosts can recall if he attended.
But our investigation also raised questions about the accuracy of Miss Roberts’ claims that she went clubbing in London with the duke that evening and her description of the bath tub where she says they later had sex.
The Mail asked Andrew’s spokesman a series of questions about his trip to New York in April 2001 and the allegations made by Miss Roberts.
A spokesman for the duke said: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment on any of these matters.’
Miss Roberts’s representatives in New York have not responded to repeated requests to comment.
Prince Andrew’s five hours of private time in New York… just as Virginia Roberts flew in to the city
By Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright for the Daily Mail
Monday, April 9, 2001, saw a day of extreme weather across New York City. Lowering skies, thunder, lightning and hailstones ‘the size of dimes’, one observer noted. It would prove a suitably sulphurous and doom-laden backdrop to the arrival in town that lunchtime of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, aboard British Airways Flight 175 from Heathrow.
The limousine of his choice was waiting at JFK airport to whisk His Royal Highness to Her Majesty’s Consul General’s palatial residence, just yards from Central Park. This would be the Duke’s sleeping quarters for the first night of a three-day working visit to the United States’ eastern seaboard.
Long in the planning, the official schedule went ‘like clockwork’, one of his party recalls. Alas, a royal spanner was to find its way into those works. The Duke had made a number of personal arrangements to fit around his formal duties. Once in Manhattan and left to his own devices, the cumulative evidence suggests it had not taken long for Andrew to put himself in a compromising situation, which has caused serious harm to his reputation.
An important element of that evidence, which can be revealed by the Mail today, are the two words which appear on the confidential and — until now — unpublished official itinerary which was faxed from royal offices in London to the consul general’s team four days earlier.
They indicate the Duke’s intentions for the five hours between 1.45pm, when his plane touched down at JFK, and 6.45pm, when he was to leave the Residence to go to a formal dinner.
Those two words are ‘Private Time’ — lasting from 2.30pm to 5.30pm. Given the date and location and the serious allegations made against him, this otherwise innocuous phrase is now loaded with significance, if not danger.
A modern-day mephistopheles
What happened during those ‘private’ hours? The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) would certainly like to know. The whole world would like to know. It is an international cause célèbre.
The Queen’s second — and some say favourite — son had always liked the Big Apple. While often brusque with and suspicious of strangers, and jealous of his own hereditary status and entitlements, Andrew enjoyed escaping from the intense scrutiny, formality and protocol which surrounded him in Commonwealth countries.
But he had a particular reason to look forward to this trip: his burgeoning friendship with an obscure but extremely generous and laid-back Wall Street billionaire named Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein happened to own the biggest townhouse in Manhattan. Covering seven floors and 28,000 square feet of the Upper East Side, the mansion’s comforts and facilities were even more extensive and considerably less stuffy — among its decor, prosthetic breasts wobbling on the bathroom walls — than those of the consul general’s Residence.
Five years divorced from Sarah, the Duchess of York, and nearing the end of a not undistinguished military career, this midlife Duke — aged 41 — was about to enter a new epoch, alone. With the impending retirement from the role by the Duke of Kent, Andrew had been anointed by his mother to become the UK’s next Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
Sources say he felt he needed to find a mentor, well versed in what was — to him — the alien world of big business; someone outside the Buckingham Palace ‘yes, sir, no sir,’ bubble’, as one acquaintance describes it.
What he got was not a guide, but a modern-day Mephistopheles.
It would be an understatement to say that his Epstein connection came back to haunt Andrew.
The relationship — and all it allegedly entailed — would eventually see the Duke banished from public life and facing demands, as he does today, to submit to Department Of Justice questioning in a sensational case which sprang from the paedophile Epstein’s voracious appetite for underage girls.
The Duke is not a suspect in their inquiries, as far as the Mail is aware, but the U.S. authorities believe he is a potentially vital witness in their investigation into Epstein and others’ criminal activities.
Epstein would be jailed in 2008 after admitting he had procured two such girls for the purpose of prostitution. Having secured a secret ‘sweetheart deal of the century’ with federal prosecutors, the financier served only 13 months, much of which was spent on day release.
But the claims of his accusers — of whom there were dozens — would not go away. The case was reopened and in July 2019 Epstein was rearrested on suspicion of further paedophile-related offences.
On August 10, 2019, while on remand in New York, he hanged himself in his prison cell. Epstein is now beyond the reach of public accusations and criminal investigation. His former friend, the Prince, is not. And in Virginia Roberts he faces one of Epstein’s abused victims and an accuser of singular determination and desire to see him brought to some kind of official account.
She claims that the Duke had sex with her on three occasions after she had been trafficked for that purpose by Epstein, twice while she was still aged 17.
The Duke of York emphatically denies having had any sexual relations with Miss Roberts or any minor. His advisers brief that he will be exonerated and able to return to public life. That remains to be seen. His stock currently remains in the basement.
But in a forensic investigation over several months, the Mail has uncovered never-before-seen documents, heard multiple new testimonies and thrown new light and detail on crucial episodes.
We have examined the gaps, contradictions and lack of recall in the Duke’s narrative as well as the consistency of Miss Roberts’ own so far widely accepted claims; not least their thus-far unexplained variances and anomalies which inevitably would be severely tested if ever presented in a court of law.
On Saturday, in the first part of this series, we examined the particulars of their first alleged encounter, in London on Saturday, March 10, 2001.
We exposed troubling questions over the Duke’s alibi for his movements that day, in particular regarding his supposed trip to drop his eldest daughter Beatrice off at a party held in the Woking branch of Pizza Express.
We also spoke to witnesses whose testimony throws new light on claims he and Miss Roberts had danced at Tramp nightclub, before returning to Ghislaine Maxwell’s Knightsbridge mews house, where an infamous picture was taken of the pair of them — a picture which the Duke’s supporters feel could be fake.
Today, we move on to their second alleged encounter, during the Duke of York’s visit to the United States in April 2001, and new findings as tantalising as they are troubling.
Only a Bentley will do for HRH
The Duke’s trip to New York that Easter Week did not concern the boosting of UK trade. He would not take up his envoy role until he formally left the Royal Navy that July. Rather he was travelling in his capacity as the chairman of trustees of the Outward Bound Trust (OBT).
This educational charity was started in 1941 by the founder of the Duke’s old boarding school, Gordonstoun. It had a significant presence in the United States.
But it would be expensive, both to the OBT and the British taxpayer. The Duke did not travel economy class. He did not travel without an entourage, which included his two-man security detail.
Confidential official papers seen by the Mail demonstrate how the visit was micro-managed.
The Duke was to be picked up at his then home, Sunninghill Park, at 10am on April 9. ‘Dress: suit’, says the itinerary, which the Mail has had sight of.
He would arrive at Heathrow at 10.35am. The BA flight would leave half an hour later. No queuing for the Duke.
Andrew would be accompanied on the outward leg by three followers, two of whom were Army officers. The more senior was Major General Sir Michael Hobbs, the Director of the Outward Bound Trust.
Sir Michael’s family was steeped in royal service; his grandmother had been a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary, wife of King George V. The junior officer was Captain Richard Dilworth of the Royal Engineers. A bluff Lancastrian, Dilworth was the Duke’s personal equerry.
The third member of the party was the Duke’s senior Personal Protection Officer (PPO), a Metropolitan policeman of inspector rank whom we shall call Policeman A.
Another PPO, a sergeant — Policeman B — had flown to New York the day before to conduct the second of two ‘recces’ for the visit. Both police officers’ costs were paid for by the Metropolitan Police, confidential documents confirm.
The expenses of the Duke and Sir Michael were paid for by the charity, according to other papers we have seen.
There were other considerations.
In a fax sent to Louise Redmond, the New York Consulate General’s visits officer, a royal aide had addressed the Duke’s mode of transport while in New York. HRH wanted a suitably high-status and British — rather than American — car.
‘(Policeman B) asked if I could ascertain what car the Duke of York would like to use in New York,’ the aide wrote.
‘His Royal Highness has said the Bentley or whatever is appropriate. To that end, I would recommend that a Jaguar or similar might be appropriate but not a Lincoln Town Car.
‘Outward Bound will provide a second car and driver for (the equerry) and Sir Michael and I would be grateful if you could provide a driver for the Duke of York’s car.’
The Duke got his Bentley.
Ms Redmond was at JFK airport to greet the royal party, along with Bill Phillips, chairman of advertising giant Ogilvy and Mather and head of Outward Bound International. Mr Phillips was to be the Duke’s official host.
The Bentley took the Duke to the Residence at No 4, East 66th Street. His luggage and entourage followed in two other vehicles.
The sleeping arrangements — the apartment had five bedrooms including the consul general’s personal quarters — had been set
out in another fax from across the Atlantic.
‘On the evening of 9th April 2001, HRH and a Personal Protection Officer will certainly be staying at the Residence,’ it stated. ‘The third room will be taken either by (Capt Dilworth) or Sir Michael. (Captain Dilworth would be the one to lose out).
‘I would be grateful if you could secure two hotel rooms locally for the two members of the Royal Party who are not staying at the Residence.
‘I wonder if it would be possible for the entire party to have breakfast at the Residence on the morning of 10th April 2001, as this will essentially be a working breakfast.’
On arrival at the Residence the Duke’s equerry busied himself with unpacking Andrew’s luggage. Meanwhile, his senior protection officer went shopping in downtown Manhattan for an Apple Mac computer with the son of the consul general, we understand he recalls.
But what of the Duke? How did he spend his designated ‘Private Time’ that afternoon and early evening?
Teenage girls on Epstein’s jet
First, we must examine another possibly significant air movement which took place that same day.
According to the logbook of one David Rodgers, Flight 1488 had taken off from Palm Beach International airport. Mr Rodgers was Epstein’s main pilot. The Gulfstream business jet he was flying that Monday belonged to the tycoon.
His logbook — about which Mr Rodgers has been questioned under oath — suggests that the passengers aboard Flight 1488 included Epstein, Virginia Roberts, a teenage girl called Banu and a young woman named ‘Joann’.
The latter would appear to be Johanna Sjoberg, then 21, who while at college in Florida had allegedly been recruited by Maxwell to work as a ‘masseuse’ for Epstein.
The logbook shows the plane landed at Atlantic City, New Jersey, then took off again — Flight 1489 — for the short hop to its final destination, Teterboro Airport, also in New Jersey.
Teterboro is a favoured New York area hub for private jet traffic. It is unclear from the available data when Flight 1488 left Palm Beach, but a typical direct flight to New York takes little more than two hours. Teterboro Airport is less than 15 miles by road from the Epstein mansion.
What happened next? As we shall see, an alleged sexual encounter bizarrely involving a Spitting Image puppet . . . of the Duke himself.
Special research: Simon Trump
Picture research: Sue Connolly
‘I sat on Andrew’s lap… Ghislaine put the Spitting Image puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast. Then he put his hand on mine’: Duke’s visit to the puppet master Epstein’s mansion.. this time for the night
After Jeffrey Epstein had admitted in court in 2007 to procuring underage girls, Johanna Sjoberg (pictured) told a Sunday newspaper of an alleged encounter with the Duke at the East 71st Street mansion at ‘Easter 2001’
After Jeffrey Epstein had admitted in court in 2007 to procuring underage girls, Johanna Sjoberg told a Sunday newspaper of an alleged encounter with the Duke at the East 71st Street mansion at ‘Easter 2001’. She had been asked by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to go to New York.
She recalled that she returned to the apartment after some ‘sightseeing’ and ‘Prince Andrew was there and a couple of other girls my age. Andrew was very charming . . . She (Ghislaine) came down with a present for him — a latex puppet of him from Spitting Image.’
She added: ‘We had a picture taken. Virginia, another girl there, sat on a chair and had the puppet on her lap. Andrew sat on another chair.
‘I sat on his lap — and he put his hand on my breast. Ghislaine put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast. Then Andrew put his hand on mine. It was a great joke. Everybody laughed . . . Ghislaine . . . had a very dirty sense of humour.’
This was the Duke in the world of Jeffrey Epstein before the advent of #MeToo.
Ms Sjoberg recalled this episode again in a deposition she gave under oath in 2016. Only fragments of this testimony have been released into the public domain, but the similarity is clear.
Ms Sjoberg said the Duke had thought the puppet ‘funny because it was him’.
Then ‘I just remember someone suggesting a photo and they told us to get on the couch. And so Virginia and Andrew sat on the couch and they put the puppet on her lap.
‘And so I sat on Andrew’s lap, I believe of my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast and so Andrew put his on mine.’ It was all done in ‘a joking manner’.
According to her accounts, the Duke, while being inappropriately tactile to say the least, had not caused offence. She had sat on the lap of this famous stranger of her own volition. She thought him ‘charming’.
‘They retired to the dungeon’
But what took the alleged encounter into a whole new sphere were the subsequent testimonies of Virginia Roberts.
In interviews with a Sunday newspaper in 2011, her unpublished memoir written in the same year, a deposition under oath given in 2015 and various later TV interviews, she corroborated Ms Sjoberg’s ‘Spitting Image’ story (though on Panorama she says the puppet was put against Johanna’s breast rather than her own).
But she also went on to claim that after the puppet photograph interlude she and Andrew retired to a massage room — ‘the dungeon’ — where they had sex. She claims they had first had sex in London, a month before this.
Miss Roberts has previously said, ‘You are left with a foggy memory sometimes, you really are,’ and, ‘I might be wrong on dates absolutely and I might be wrong on places even, sometimes.’
Given the length of time that has elapsed since these alleged incidents, that is only natural.
However in the deposition she said: ‘I had sex with Prince Andrew . . . in Epstein’s New York mansion in spring 2001. I was 17 at the time. Epstein called me down to his office. When I got there Epstein was there, along with Maxwell, Johanna Sjoberg and Andy. I was very surprised to see him again. Epstein and Maxwell were making lewd jokes about ‘Randy Andy’. ‘I had the impression that Andy had come there to see Epstein and to have sex with me. There was no apparent purpose for Andy to be there.’
She said Epstein paid her $400 for this service.
None of these accounts suggest a time of day for the alleged encounter. But another, unlikely, alleged independent eyewitness has just come forward to go some way to corroborating the puppet story.
Ms Sjoberg recalled that she returned to the apartment after some ‘sightseeing’ and ‘Prince Andrew was there and a couple of other girls my age. Andrew was very charming . . . She (Ghislaine) came down with a present for him — a latex puppet of him from Spitting Image’ (pictured)
Steve Wright, a 55-year-old puppeteer from Yorkshire, says he met the Duke at a Buckingham Palace reception in 2003. When he told Andrew what he did, the Duke allegedly said: ‘Oh my God, puppets! Spitting Image — do you know that my friend bought my Spitting Image puppet and you’ll never believe it, he played a trick on me’.
Wright explained: ‘The Prince told me he went to an apartment in New York and saw the ‘bloody thing’ sitting up on the sofa and that he ‘nearly had a bloody heart attack’ as he was there looking at himself.’
The Epstein mansion was only six minutes’ stroll via Fifth Avenue, from the consul general’s Residence.
It was not forbidden for the Duke to be at the Epstein mansion. Nor even noteworthy — at the time. Epstein was still a man of apparently spotless character. He was also a good friend and mentor of the Duke. Why wouldn’t the Duke pop over to see Epstein during his ‘Private Time’? Why otherwise would they contrive to miss each other given the opportunity?
When asked by Emily Maitlis on Newsnight about Ms Sjoberg’s account, the Duke even seemed to concede he might have visited.
Maitlis: ‘There was a witness there, Johanna Sjoberg, who says you did visit the house in that month.’
Duke: ‘I probably did . . . because of what I was doing, I was staying with the consul general which is further down the street on Fifth so I wasn’t . . . I wasn’t staying there. I may have visited but definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity.’
Maitlis didn’t press the point further. Which was good for the Duke. Because within that stumbling reply we can reveal he had made at least one statement which was patently inaccurate.
Bodyguard stayed at Epstein’s too
The Duke’s schedule over the next 36 hours was packed with formal duties. That evening he was ‘escorted’ by his security detail and equerry from the Residence to a dinner at the five-star Mark Hotel, five hundred yards beyond the Epstein mansion along Fifth Avenue. The Duke’s host was Bill Phillips, head of Outward Bound International.
Afterwards he was escorted back to the Residence by Policeman A and stayed the night there. The Mail understands this has been confirmed by his security detail.
The following morning after breakfast the itinerary shows the Duke was to leave for ‘The School for the Physical City’, where he was scheduled to be met by Richard Stopol, director of the New York Outward Bound Schools.
There followed a two-hour tour of the facilities and further discussions with Mr Stopol, before the Duke left for lunch at the New York Times building, hosted by Arthur Sultzberger, chairman and publisher of the newspaper. The Duke then met another Outward Bound patron called Charlie Stetson before leaving for LaGuardia Airport. At 4.30pm, he and his full entourage departed for Boston.
In a fax sent from London shortly before his trip, a royal aide states only that ‘His Royal Highness will return to New York on the evening of 11th April after his visit to Boston. He will spend that evening at a private address in New York and will depart for Miami the following day’
He spent most of the next 24 hours at an Outward Bound facility on an island in the middle of Boston harbour. There are a number of photographs which support this. By 4.30pm on April 11 his formal duties with Outward Bound had been discharged.
According to sources, Sir Michael Hobbs and Captain Dilworth raised glasses of Guinness in one of the city’s many Irish pubs to toast the ‘great success’ — as they saw it — of the royal visit, before they caught an evening flight back to London.
Such is hubris. Because the Duke wasn’t going home with them. In fact, he and his PPOs were already heading back to New York on Flight DL1841. The Duke paid for his own ticket this time because he was no longer ‘working’.
In fact, he was about to demonstrate just how close he was to Epstein. The Mail can reveal that despite his denial during the Newsnight interview, Andrew did spend the night of April 11 at the Epstein mansion.
In a fax sent from London shortly before his trip, a royal aide states only that ‘His Royal Highness will return to New York on the evening of 11th April after his visit to Boston. He will spend that evening at a private address in New York and will depart for Miami the following day’.
That ‘private address’ was 9, East 71st Street, sources close to the Duke have conceded. Epstein’s mansion. They say that HRH and Policeman A were alone there, apart from domestic staff. They insist that Epstein, Maxwell and Roberts had already left the city before the Duke arrived.
The Mail understands that Policeman A has confirmed this account and added that he stayed in his ‘usual’ guest bedroom on the fourth floor — an intriguing phrase in itself — with the Duke in a room nearby. (It is worth recalling that the Duke has admitted staying with Epstein in New York in 2010, the final time they met).
David Rodgers’ pilot log also suggests that Flight 1490 left Teterboro Airport for St Thomas in the American Virgin Islands, the nearest landing ground to Epstein’s private island, on April 11.
On board were Epstein, Maxwell, Banu, Virginia Roberts and Ms Sjoberg. The logbook does not say when the flight left New York.
Riddle of the missing memories
So are there other witnesses who can testify to the Duke’s whereabouts? The Mail has learned Captain Dilworth sent a polite letter to Bill Phillips, head of Outward Bound International, dated April 30, 2001, thanking him for his hospitality.
Mr Phillips died two years ago. But approached by the Mail this week his widow Barbara had no recollection of him mentioning any such royal visit: ‘I would have known if he had dined at The Mark, let alone with an English prince. He would have delighted in telling me as we regularly discussed his work and Outward Bound.
‘He met a lot of famous people and there are lots of photos of him with those people. But none with the Prince.’
While there is pictorial proof that the Prince attended Outward Bound events in Boston, Richard Stopol, who is the current CEO of Outward Bound New York and was due to have hosted the Duke in the city on that second morning, equally said he couldn’t remember Andrew visiting at Easter 2001.
‘Neither I nor any other NYC Outward Bound Schools staff met with Prince Andrew or were even aware that he was visiting New York City,’ he said.
He then checked with the man who was principal of The School for the Physical City in 2001.
Mr Stopol reported: ‘He’s a friend and we speak regularly and I was intrigued. I thought it was my memory which was failing, but he doesn’t recall this visit either.’
More bizarrely still, Tom Harris, UK Consul General in 2001, can’t recall a visit by the Duke that Easter. Nor could two of his three deputy consuls. Louise Redmond, the New York Consulate General’s visits officer, is still in post.
It was almost 20 years ago. Memories are hazy. Though not as hazy as the Duke’s has been.
The Mail asked representatives of Andrew a series of questions about the allegations made by Miss Roberts. A spokesman for the Duke said: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment on any of these matters.’
However, the Mail understands that the Duke now recalls he stayed at the Epstein mansion that third night to ‘save taxpayers’ money’ — rather than stay at a hotel, while on his way to join the Duchess and their two daughters for a family holiday in the Bahamas.
The several hundreds of pounds ‘saved’ pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands so far paid in legal and consultancy fees and the reputational catastrophe to him and the Royal Family that his relationship with Epstein has caused.
Mystery of Prince Andrew’s first meeting with Jeffrey Epstein: He says it was ‘some time in 2000. So why did top lawyer suggest it was at least a year earlier?
By Richard Pendlebury and Stephen Wright for the Daily Mail
So when did the Duke and the man whose friendship would cost him so dear first come into contact? Here, too, there are peculiar inconsistencies.
The Mail has been told by one very well-placed source that Andrew believes his first-ever meeting with Jeffrey Epstein took place over a lunch at the renowned Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building on East 52nd Street, Manhattan, ‘sometime in 2000’.
The event was notable in one other detail. ‘It was the only time the Duke ever saw Epstein wearing a suit,’ the source said. ‘He invariably hung out in trainers, hoodies and sweatshirts. Rather a slob.’
For once, Epstein had dressed to impress. This was an opportunity to add a needy British prince to his impressive collection of former U.S. presidents, Hollywood stars, Silicon Valley hotshots, celebrity lawyers and scientists who enjoyed flights on his business jet and visits to his private Caribbean island, New Mexico ranch and mansions in New York and Palm Beach.
The source said the introduction was arranged not by the Duke’s ex-wife, the Duchess of York, as has often been reported, but by Epstein’s then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, whom the Duke had known since she was an Oxford undergraduate in the 1980s.
Ms Maxwell is currently remanded in custody in the U.S. charged with assisting Epstein in his offences and perjury. She faces 35 years in jail if convicted but denies all of the allegations.
The source said: ‘It was an entirely straightforward first meeting, which came about because the Duke was migrating from the Navy to his ambassadorial role with UK trade. And he didn’t know much about business.
‘So he put the word out to those whom he considered to be friends: ‘If you know any high-powered business people who I might be able to learn from then please put me in touch with them.’
‘And of course Ghislaine Maxwell was one of his friends, there is no denying that; one of his oldest friends, as much as anyone can be friends with senior members of the Royal Family. And she was dating Epstein at that stage.
‘So that was the genesis of their first meeting. It was a response from Ghislaine Maxwell to his request for help. The Duchess had nothing to do with it. She and Maxwell have never seen eye to eye. They have never liked each other. Maxwell was the Duke’s sole link to Jeffrey Epstein.’
The Duke’s recollection that he and Epstein first met in 2000 is arguably typical of his vague grasp of detail concerning events key to the serious allegations against him.
This carelessness makes his team of crisis managers and legal advisers, headed by the formidable Claire Montgomery QC, wary of submitting him to U.S. Department of Justice demands for face-to-face interviews in London or New York.
His disastrous performance 13 months ago on BBC Newsnight was warning enough that the Duke lacked emotional intelligence and was insufficiently ‘mentally agile’, as one acquaintance termed it, to be put on the spot, however blameless his history. His memory is woeful, apparently.
So how does his recall of the first meeting with Epstein check out?
Certainly, Andrew was photographed in the company of Epstein and Maxwell at an event at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in February 2000. Before the year was out the couple were the Duke’s guests at a Sandringham shooting weekend.
Another attendee who spoke to the Mail described Maxwell as being as animated as Epstein was monosyllabic. But there are other accounts which suggest the Duke and Epstein met earlier than 2000 — at least as early as 1999.
The Duke’s name appears on flight logs for one of Epstein’s aircraft in February 1999, along with a former Miss Russia called Anna Malova. (However, the accuracy of these passenger manifests has been questioned on a number of occasions).
Then this summer, the New York Post quoted a ‘pal’ of Maxwell’s who claimed that it was not Ghislaine but the businesswoman and socialite Lynn Forester de Rothschild who introduced Andrew to Epstein, at a party in the Hamptons in July 1999.
Perhaps another indicator of an introduction predating 2000 — and the motive behind it — is a letter which the Duke allegedly wrote to Epstein’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz. It was to thank Dershowitz for having given him a tour of the Harvard Law School Library. The letter was dated September 30, 1999.
Dershowitz, whom Miss Roberts has also accused of having had underage sex with her — which he furiously denies — has reproduced the text in his autobiography.
Andrew allegedly wrote to him: ‘I look forward to continuing my intellectual challenge with you and Jeffrey E in the coming months.’ Dershowitz commented: ‘He clearly looked to Jeffrey Epstein as somebody who could educate him, whether in matters of finance or anything else, I don’t know.’
Given the continuing haziness of his memory, how to demonstrate a clear and convincing recall of past events was not part of the Duke’s Epstein tutorials, it would appear.