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Prince Andrew has come under scrutiny due to his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein – who was due to stand trial for sex trafficking last year before he killed himself in prison. The Duke of York has also been accused of having sex with trafficking victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre on three separate occasions. Buckingham Palace and Prince Andrew have vehemently denied these allegations, and said they were “false and without foundation”. But this didn’t prevent Andrew from stepping back from royal duties after a disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis last year.
In the interview, he said he would assist with investigations into Epstein and his former partner Ghislaine Maxwell, who has also been arrested on charges of sex trafficking.
US prosecutors have claimed Prince Andrew has not cooperated with their requests for an interview. The Duke’s lawyers have disputed those claims.
According to a September 2019 report from the Telegraph, the controversy has also led to tense meetings between Prince Andrew and members of the Royal Family.
In the space of a week, the Duke of York had a “showdown” with Prince Charles a week after a similar exchange with Prince Philip.
Prince Charles issued “strong words” to his brother only hours before a Panorama interview with Virginia Roberts Guiffre piled more pressure on the beleaguered Duke of York.
During the hour-long documentary, Mrs Guiffre alleged that aged 17 she was forced to have sex with the Duke which she described as “disgusting” and left her feeling “horrified and abused”.
It was also reported that Prince Charles had urged Prince Andrew to step back from royal duties.
A week earlier Andrew had been summoned for a face to face meeting with his father.
A royal insider at Sandringham told the Telegraph: “It was a tense meeting and Philip told his son he had to take his punishment.
“There was no screaming or shouting but Philip told him in no uncertain terms that he had to step down for the sake of the monarchy.
“Philip doesn’t like trial by the media but he is realistic enough to realise that Andrew’s actions were a danger to the very fabric of the Royal Family.
“It was agreed they would have another meeting with Charles.”
The source added: “It was all very civilised but Charles calmly read him the riot act and told him there was no way back for him in the near future,” said the source.
“Andrew thought he was being treated harshly as nothing has yet been proved against him, but he accepted the decision.
“He really had little choice.”
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In November 2019, Prince Andrew attracted more unwanted attention following the BBC Newsnight showdown.
Emily Maitlis, who conducted the interview, told Radio Times that the Duke’s aides were happy with his interview until they saw the public reaction.
She said: “We know that the Palace was happy with the interview.
“We had plenty of engagement with them after it went out.
“I think their shock was not at the interview itself, but the reaction it caused in the days and weeks afterwards.”
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