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Andrew was introduced to Epstein in around 1999 by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, and they were pictured together on numerous occasions over the next decade. Epstein, who became a convicted sex offender in 2008, was arrested again last year on charges relating to sex trafficking and the sexual abuse of young women and girls. Although he killed himself in prison before his trial, US authorities continued to investigate an alleged international sex trafficking ring which may have been run by Epstein.
The case has resurfaced in recent weeks after Ms Maxwell was found by the FBI and arrested.
She faces charges relating to Epstein’s sexual abuse of young women and girls too, although she has pleaded not guilty — her trial will take place next year.
US authorities have subsequently asked Andrew to assist, as a witness, with their investigation.
He and his lawyers claim they have offered to help with 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”.
Andrew’s car-crash BBC Newsnight interview from November last year was his attempt to explain his relationship with Epstein.
He said there was “no indication” during their years of friendship that Epstein was procuring young women and girls.
Still, the interview faced huge public backlash and within a few days Andrew released a statement acknowledging how his “former association” with Epstein had become a “major disruption to my family’s work” and confirming the Queen gave him permission to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”.
Yet, reports have since claimed that it was Charles who pushed the monarch to cut her favourite son off from his £249,000 annual allowance and remove him from the public eye.
Nigel Cawthorne, author of the recently published bombshell biography ‘Prince Andrew, Epstein and the Palace’, also told Express.co.uk that the tensions between the brothers had been brewing for years – and that Andrew’s Epstein friendship was the tip of the iceberg.
He explained: “The difficulty has more to do with the dynamic between two siblings who are told in their youth that they need to support each other.”
As the eldest son Charles was always going to be first-in-line to the throne. Andrew, as the second son, was the spare.
Mr Cawthorne continued: “One day the realisation comes for the younger brother that they drew the hereditary short end and it causes tension and a struggle for independence from each other.
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“Andrew’s long Epstein friendship since the late Nineties was the Duke’s mark to his older brother that he was not king yet.”
Andrew’s representatives declined to comment on the claims.
The Prince of Wales is thought to be exasperated by Andrew’s representation of the Royal Family through his overseas activities.
The Duke of York has been criticised for his friendship with the family of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi, earned the nickname of ‘Airmiles Andy’ due to his £260,000 travel expenses and had a reputation for being a party prince, which led to his other nickname of ‘Randy Andy’.
Royal author Penny Junor told the Daily Beast: “I think Charles is very aware that the monarchy is a precarious institution that needs to be very mindful of how it looks to the public and how they use the privilege that they have.
“Andrew seems to feel a sense of entitlement that some would argue he does not deserve.”
His friendship with Epstein was particularly worrying to Charles, according to sources.
Insiders explained royal commentator Katie Nicholl: “Andrew welcomed Epstein at Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral at different points during their friendship, which led to tensions between him and Charles.
“Charles has disapproved of quite a lot of Andrew’s friends and acquaintances over the years and Epstein is no exception.
“I was told he was very concerned about the friendship for a long time and saw it as a disaster waiting to happen.”
However, multiple reports claim that Andrew rejected advice to end the friendship – even after Epstein’s initial 2008 conviction. The Duke of York has said that he ended the friendship in person when he went to stay for Epstein for several days in New York in 2010.
Andrew has since resisted his older brother’s attempts to make significant changes to the monarchy too, such as when he removed Princess Beatrice’s and Princess Eugenie’s protection officers due to austerity.
Indeed, royal correspondent Richard Kay claimed that Charles said: “The trouble with my brother Andrew is that he wants to be me.”
Andrew’s unexplained absence from Charles’ 50th anniversary of his investiture as the Prince of Wales in March last year only heightened speculation of a feud between them.
Then in February this year, Charles — along with Anne and Edward — was a no-show for Andrew’s low-key 60th birthday bash.
While the Queen has shown her tacit support for Andrew during the Epstein saga by appearing with him in public, Charles and Andrew have not been pictured together for months.
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