Royal author Anegla Levin claims the Duke of York’s statement was staggeringly arrogant
The statement released yesterday by Prince Andrew was staggeringly arrogant, disingenuous and dishonest.
I had hoped when I wrote in The Mail on Sunday last week asking him to come clean about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein that he might finally reveal what he knew of the disgraced financier’s activities.
Instead, he has done the opposite and in the process insulted our intelligence by making a series of mealy-mouthed claims.
The statement released by the Palace ‘From His Royal Highness The Duke of York’ claimed that he is ‘eager to clarify the facts to avoid speculation’. In practice, however, he has done nothing of the kind.
Who is advising him on such appalling PR? Under close examination, the claims in his statement are palpable nonsense.
In the first paragraph, Andrew says that he had an ‘association or friendship with Mr Epstein’. Well, which one is it? Because it can’t be both.
Would he invite someone who was a mere associate to the June 2000 Dance Of The Decades party at Windsor Castle?
This event was hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th, Princess Anne’s 50th, Princess Margaret’s 70th and Prince William’s 18th birthday. It seems odd that you would invite someone to such an occasion if you merely had an ‘association’.
Ask yourself this: How many associates do you have at your significant birthday celebrations and family events? But it gets worse. In the autumn of that year, Andrew flew to New York and attended a Halloween ‘hookers and bondage’ party in Manhattan hosted by Epstein.
Most people who received the invitation would have instantly known the nature of the bash. Did the theme not put him off his ‘association’?
What’s more is that in December that same year, Epstein attended a party Andrew threw for Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s close friend and alleged madam, at Sandringham.
Prince Andrew, here with Virgina Roberts, then aged 17 (centre), and Ghislaine Maxwell (right), is once again in the spotlight over his close friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein
Subsequently all three associates or friends travelled to Phuket in Thailand to celebrate New Year.
Again, how many associates do you have who you have gone away with to celebrate the New Year?
Regardless of how he wants to term their relationship, one thing is clear: The Duke and Epstein met at least four times in 2000.
Strange, then, that the Duke’s statement yesterday reads: ‘During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year.’
Besides expecting our Royals not to hang around with paedophiles, we also expect them to be honest. This whole statement reeks.
Does Andrew really expect us to believe that someone he did not know well and only saw infrequently was invited into the Royals’ inner sanctum?
There is also the very real problem that senior Royals need to be – and usually are – careful about who they befriend.
Naturally, they don’t want to mix with those who might tarnish the family’s good name.
Yet within a very short space of time, Andrew was inviting Epstein to an enviable list of Royal events. What does that say about his judgment?
In the statement, he goes on: ‘At no stage during the limited time I spent with him [Epstein] did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.’
Angela Levin states: ‘Andrew simply cannot escape the fact that he stayed with Epstein (pictured) once he was already on the sex offender register after serving time inside for sexual abuse’
This echoes Buckingham Palace’s statement last week, which declared: ‘The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.’ But this is not the point – and he knows it.
Andrew simply cannot escape the fact that he stayed with Epstein once he was already on the sex offender register after serving time inside for sexual abuse.
As The Mail on Sunday reports today, he stayed for six days and enjoyed a party thrown in his honour.
According to an email exchange between journalist Evgeny Morozov and US literary agent John Brockman, Andrew whined about his public profile.
Brockman said the Prince claimed: ‘In Monaco [Prince] 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.’
Andrew now admits it was ‘a mistake and an error’ to continue their relationship after Epstein’s release in 2010 and adds: ‘I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and behaviour.’
But how does his statement really address his ongoing meetings with Epstein?
And his sympathy is not going to help any of the young girls Epstein abused to get justice for their degrading, life-changing traumas.
If he really had such ‘tremendous sympathy’ he would speak to US authorities about what he knows of his former friend. Actions speak far louder than words.
The statement ends: ‘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.’
The authorities involved in investigating Epstein do not want Andrew to offer a psychological explanation of his friend’s depravity.
Nor do they care if he doesn’t understand it. What they want is the unvarnished truth from the Prince about what he does know. It is about time we heard it.