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Andrew is believed to have been introduced to Epstein by Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite, in around 1999. Epstein was arrested last summer on charges relating to sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. He killed himself in jail before his trial, but his arrest led the public to scrutinise Andrew’s long friendship with the disgraced financier.
Andrew’s friend Ms Maxwell was also arrested last month. Epstein’s supposed “madam” faced multiple charged relating to her ex-boyfriend’s sexual abuse of young women and girls, but has pleaded not guilty.
Andrew himself has faced allegations he had sex with Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) who claims she was trafficked and abused by Epstein and Ms Maxwell, too.
She alleges that the Duke of York had sex with her on three different occasions, around 2001, when she was 17 years old — once on Epstein’s private island.
However, Andrew and Buckingham Palace have vehemently denied the claims, with the royal saying to BBC Newsnight he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady”.
A statement reads: “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.”
US authorities have also asked the Duke of York to assist, as a witness, with their investigation into a potential international sex trafficking ring that may have been run by Epstein.
He and his lawyers claim they have offered to help the inquiry on three separate occasions, only for the Department of Justice to react to the “first two offers by breaching their own confidentiality rules and claiming that the Duke has offered zero cooperation”.
Author and journalist Guy Adams explained last year how the Epstein-Andrew friendship blossomed after their initial meeting, through Ms Maxwell.
He claimed: “In April 1998, Epstein flew to Nassau in the Bahamas to meet the Duchess [of York] and daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, then aged nine and eight, who were holidaying on Epstein’s island, Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.”
A flight log of Epstein’s jet revealed that in February 1999, Andrew accompanied Epstein to the same island — which was later dubbed “paedophile island”.
Miles and Cathy Alexander, a couple who hired the Caribbean property earlier that year told the Daily Mail: “The Duke came via helicopter with his bodyguard and a woman in her thirties, who said she was a brain surgeon.
“She was tall, bleached blonde and had big boobs.
“They shared a room and spent most of their time on windsurfing, sailing or doing other water sports.
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“One day he came back into the house in great mirth, claiming his guest had stepped on a sea urchin and he urinated on her foot as a remedy.”
He then supposedly chuckled and said: “The royal member has done its duty.”
When asked about the reported joke, the Duke of York’s representatives declined to comment.
Andrew openly states he visited Epstein’s island and confirmed he had stayed there during his infamous interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis.
Andrew’s association with the island was also known to other famous individuals, such as Donald Trump.
In 2015, Mr Trump told reporters to “ask Prince Andrew” when questioned himself about Epstein’s private island.
He said: “That island was really a cesspool, there’s no question about it, just about Prince Andrew, he’ll tell you about it, the island was an absolute cesspool.”
Andrew went on to invite Epstein and Ms Maxwell to the royal estates on several different occasions after his time on the financier’s island.
He took Epstein to Balmoral in July 1999 and in December 2000, Epstein and Ms Maxwell travelled to Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
According to Mr Adams, Andrew spent “£20,000 hosting a pheasant shooting weekend at Sandringham” with the duo.
In April 2000, the Daily Mail also revealed that Andrew had “become one of Ghislaine’s regular guests at the famous dinner parties she holds at the home of [Epstein] on New York’s prestigious Upper East Side”.
Andrew’s association with Epstein continued for years — and the Duke of York came under fire in 2010 for being photographed with the disgraced financier.
He met up with Epstein in New York shortly after he had been released from prison.
Epstein had been found guilty of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and soliciting a prostitute and served 13 months.
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