Inside Prince Andrew's Misguided Attempt to Justify Epstein

A whirling underage-sex scandal catapulted Prince Andrew from the fringe to the center after Jeffrey Epstein's arrest and apparent suicide. Attempting to defend his name in a frank interview with BBC Newsnight set the ground for his royal disgrace and ensuing legal battle.

An image captured the attention of the entire world.

When a picture of Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein walking through Central Park by Jae Donnelly went viral, it inspired a young woman on the other side of the world to take action.

In a little town on the coast of Australia, Virginia Roberts Giuffre had relocated to escape the atrocities of Jeffrey Epstein. An unnamed reporter wrote that the 27-year-old mother of three had "kept her sentiments bottled up" before the photo made international headlines in February 2011. This "raised terrible recollections" from when she was 16 and worked as a spa assistant for Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida's Palm Beach for $9 an hour, but the image of Andrew and Epstein at the park "caused distressing memories." Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly recruited her as a "sex slave" while she was working there, and she said that she was forced to perform sexual services for Epstein and his acquaintances, "including royalty," at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere.

Image may contain Clothing Apparel Prince Andrew Duke of York Ghislaine Maxwell Human Person Pants and Skirt
Virginia Roberts Giuffre says Jeffrey Epstein took this photo of her, at age 17, with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell.

When Epstein settled with 17 young women without going to trial, she was known as Jane Doe #102. She was just another victim who had a claim against Epstein. To meet Virginia Giuffre in person and hear her story, reporter Sharon Churcher flew to Australia and spoke with her on the phone before publishing an article in The Mail on Sunday on February 26, 2011 entitled, "Jane Doe #102 Has Agreed To Waive Her Anonymity And Tell For The First Time Her Deeply Disturbing Story."

Giuffre recalled a six-week trip to "Paris, Spain, and Tangier," with a stop in London, on Epstein's "Lolita Express" in March 2001, for which she alleged Epstein paid her $15,000. She, Epstein, and Ghislaine Maxwell were transported straight to Maxwell's Belgravia townhouse when they arrived in London from New York City, where they had been staying. On their first morning together, a "chirpy" Maxwell leapt on Giuffre's bed and exclaimed, "Get up, sleepyhead, you've got a big day. Going to the store is a need. A dress is required because you'll be dancing with a prince tonight."

By virtue of his royal status, Giuffre was told that she needed to be "bubbly" and 'cheeky'. At around 4 p.m. they returned to Maxwell's house after their Burberry shopping trip, where Virginia washed and dressed before greeting her hosts. "When I walked downstairs, Jeffrey and Ghislaine were in the lounge. The door was slammed open by a knock. As Ghislaine escorted Andrew into the room, we exchanged kisses on the cheek. Using a porcelain saucepan, Ghislaine offered tea and biscuits to her guests. Both she and Sarah Ferguson had warm memories of Andrew's daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. She knew Sarah Ferguson.

As Giuffre claims, Andrew danced with her at Tramp the private nightclub after dinner. It took them an hour and a half to go back to Maxwell's house after their time at Tramp. As Giuffre explained to the Mail, "we all walked upstairs and I asked Jeffrey to take a picture of me with the prince." It was important for me to have something to show my mother when she came to visit.

Guillemette drew out an envelope of photos as she recounted her past. As Michael Thomas, who worked on the project, put it: "They were pictures of her time with Epstein from various travels she had taken." A dozen, at the most, I'd say.

"pictures of her on her own in Santa Fe, on a horse, in the snow at [Epstein's] Zorro Ranch entrance, and at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum," they wrote.

There was an astonishing photograph among Giuffre's travel photos, taken with his own cheap yellow disposable Kodak camera. A tank top showed her midriff in a pair of colourful leggings. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, stood to one side of her, a smile on his face and an arm around her waist, while Ghislaine Maxwell grinned.

Giuffre alleged that the photographer, Jeffrey Epstein, was hidden behind the camera.

A "typical print as you would have received back from the photo developers when negatives were used," explains Thomas. As soon as I finished photographing, I sent the picture to the Picture Desk. In Virginia, "the original" was maintained.

A month with Virginia and her family left photographer Michael Thomas "never doubting her story," as he puts it.

"So clearly the Mail on Sunday [editors] were extremely thrilled when they saw that," he says, "solid proof" of Prince Andrew's relationship with the then 17-year-old now residing in Australia. It was later reported that Giuffre was paid $160,000—"for the photo exclusively," says a spokesperson—for the picture. It has been reported that Virginia sold her story to the Daily Mail, however this has been denied by her.

Just like the photo of Andrew and Epstein in Central Park in February 2011, this book rocked the world when it was published in February 2011. Virginia and her family had to be moved from one location to another after the story leaked, because everyone was searching for her." That's why, Thomas tells us, we spent the month with them. There was no response from Sharon Churcher.

In the face of the picture, Prince Andrew and his allies would claim that it was either Photoshopped or a complete fabrication. This is me, but I have no idea if that's my hand or if that's my posture. As Andrew stated, "I have absolutely no memory of the shot ever being taken.") That assertion is "crazy" to the photographer who first saw the picture in the envelope in Australia.

The month he spent with Virginia and her family, he says, "I would say that I personally never doubted her tale."

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Virginia Roberts Giuffre told the Mail that, following her first meeting with Andrew, she had two additional encounters with him: at Epstein’s New York residence later in 2001; and a year later, after she had turned 18, on Epstein’s private island, Little St. James. Virginia and Andrew never had intercourse or knew that Epstein had paid for her to have sex with his pals," read the article in the Daily Mail.

Buckingham Palace and the Royal Lodge, the 30-room estate on 98 acres that Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, call home, were unlikely to be affected by a woman's charges in Australia, which were first reported in the Australian media.

“Concluding night neither Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell nor Prince Andrew would comment on Virginia’s story,” read the last sentence of the Mail on Sunday piece. By the time Maxwell heard Giuffre's charges he had already denied them. It was not Giuffre who suffered as a result of Maxwell's sex trafficking charges, which were prosecuted in full in the year 2021.

Giuffre, on the other hand, would gradually add more damaging evidence to her story. In 2015 she sued Maxwell, who’d dubbed her a liar, for defamation. In court papers presented for the lawsuit, she claimed that Epstein compelled her to have sex with Prince Andrew at 17. Only four years later did such words come to light in the court record.

After his plane landed at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested for sex trafficking. On August 10th, he was found dead in his cell, from what appeared to be self-inflicted injuries. As a result, Giuffre's case against Prince Andrew was unsealed, and the facts of her claims against him were made public. They had sex three times, once in the bathtub of Maxwell's London home, once during an orgy on Epstein's island, and once at Epstein's New York City home. Buckingham Palace fiercely rejected any of her accusations.

All of a sudden, Prince Andrew was thrust into the center of attention. There was silence and stonewalling from U.S. officials when they tried to get Andrew to talk on the record.

According to Nigel Cawthorne, author of the new book Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace, "the royal family is fundamentally a soap show." For his part, Andrew is a prince fit for The Crown, The Favourite, or even The Great, depending on how you look at him. The "wayward son" who "causes anguish to his mother, embarrasses the rest of the family, exasperates the audience, and despairs the admirers" is Cawthorne.

From the beginning, Andrew was a troublemaker. He was referred to as "that young imp" by his nanny, Mabel Anderson, and the royal staff because of his "temper tantrums and obstinacy," Cawthorne wrote. Known for his pranks, Andrew handed the queen mother a whoopee cushion, hit his father, Prince Philip, in the eye during a wrestling match, smeared itching powder on the queen's bed, and scaled the palace roof to twist the television antennas so she couldn't see her favorite shows. According to Cawthorne, the sentries tied their shoelaces so they couldn't move or admonish him because he had hidden the knives and forks from view while the footman laid the table. He's "not always a tiny light of sunshine around the house," the Queen murmured.

His acquaintances describe Andrew as "funny, really witty," "tells fantastic stories, delightful," and "delightful" in turn. "He's a king. Impressive.” In comparison, others are less enthusiastic about him. 'His deadly calling card is pomposity, arrogance and folly' argues one royal biographer of Andrew VI's final moments. When it comes to adopting good counsel, "he's awful," but when it comes to poor advise, "he's great."

According to Cawthorne, as the royal family was watching the working-class soap series Coronation Street, Andrew sobbed, "Oh God, look at all those common people." Because of his penchant for taking short, private flights when a car would do, he was given the moniker "Air Miles Andy." "He responded, 'You have to understand one thing: I am the son of the sovereign," he declared in full cinematic character,"

When Andrew first met Ghislaine Maxwell, she was still a student at Oxford, where her name means "beam of brightness." According to former Royal Protection officer Paul Page, who was convicted in 2009 of conducting a fraudulent 3 million pound investment scheme from inside Buckingham Palace, she frequently visited him there. It's been reported that Andrew would force palace guards to let numerous women pass through the palace gates and into his exclusive Duke of York entrance at all hours, often without legal registration. There are rumors that Maxwell came and went four times in one 24-hour period, which Page claims to have witnessed. People even said that they had a picnic on the royal grounds together. "A persistent sore in the family...a constant gnaw" was how Andrew described Jeffrey Epstein, who Maxwell introduced him to.

Epstein's noxious winds have overtaken Andrew by the fall of 2019. When he visited New York in 2010, a video of him saying farewell to a young woman and looking shyly behind Epstein's front door was obtained by the Daily Mail. He was alleged to have resigned from his position as UK trade and investment envoy as a result of the Central Park photos. Only to be confronted with questions about his ties to the predator at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos.

It was just one more denial in the long list of Andrew's claims that he never saw, witnessed, or suspected anything about Epstein's actions that would lead to his arrest and conviction later on. Her silent but firm support for her troubled child was evident. She was photographed riding with Andrew to Balmoral's Sunday worship service the day following Epstein's death.

New and dreadful revelations started surfacing. In April 2001, one of Epstein's pilots reported that Andrew had flown to the U.S. Virgin Islands with Giuffre, who was 17 years old at the time. Johanna Sjoberg, who was 17 at the time of the incident in 2001, claimed that while posing for a photo with a puppet of himself in Epstein's Manhattan mansion, Andrew had placed his hand on her breast. According to a story by Guy Adams in the Daily Mail in August 2019, Andrew had multiple "liaisons" with Epstein. Despite the fact that paedophile Jeffrey Epstein had been convicted of crimes against children, the Duke of York and the financier had been seen partying together at least 20 times since they met. Two months later, the shocking documentary The Prince & the Paedophile premiered on British television network Channel 4. His phone book contained 13 phone numbers for Prince Andrew, which included a line to his computer's Internet modem, it has been disclosed.

Giuffre's commentary was constant throughout. She expressed her hope that Prince Andrew would come clean about what he'd done, saying, "I know exactly what he's done."

According to The Times of London, "he grew so toxic that Donald Trump denied knowing him."

All of the publications lined up for an interview, with one advising the prince's team that "print interviews are easier to handle, less like a negative, which you can't erase," according to the royal correspondent. Subjects and interviewers might weigh the pros and cons of the interview before it is published in a newspaper or magazine. "It can be a lot more collaborative.""

That's not to say that Prince Andrew didn't do anything big. He'd make a tremendous impression if he spoke up. Newsnight, the BBC's primetime current-affairs program, was the most prominent venue with the broadest conceivable audience.

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If necessary, Emily Maitlis could pull out the photo of Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts Giuffre from her lap.

Maitlis' friend, CNN's chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour, informed her she would have confronted Prince Andrew with the incriminating photo of him with his arm around Giuffre's waist. According to Amanpour, the "CNN way—the American way" would have been to show him the damning photo and say, "Here it is."

Nevertheless, Newsnight host Maitlis had something much more potent: a photo. After 20 years of interviewing everyone from Boris Johnson to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to the Dalai Lama, this journalist's "muscle memory" has been honed. Muscle memory means you don't get caught up in the "Oh, my goodness, I'm asking about sex or impropriety," or "Oh, my god," she says. It's just a matter of muscle memory: I need to get this right. I really must be informed. As you can see, I'm relying only on your answers to tell my viewers what has truly occurred."

To Maitlis, every interview is “a conversation.” Her job is to keep the conversation rolling, never expressing surprise or outrage, no matter how outrageous the answers, and always intently listening for an opening—that special moment when her journalistic muscle memory kicks in, instinct takes over, and she gets to the heart of the matter.

Nearly two years after their historic interview with Prince Andrew, Maitlis and her producer Esme Wren are still in disbelief as they sit in the Caffè Nero in the shadow of the BBC's London headquarters.

Prince Andrew allegedly stated, "I'm not doing Newsnight," when they first approached him. Newsnight is known for its toughness, so this came as no surprise. It's Maitlis' opinion that if you show up at Newsnight, you know you won't be asked about puppies. "People at home want to know the answers to the questions you're being asked," says the interviewer. People back home also wanted to hear about Prince Andrew's ties with Jeffrey Epstein, a prominent New York financier.

The Prince of Wales has an office at Buckingham Palace on the tenth level, where he does his job. Maitlis describes it as being "surprisingly little." As one ascends the palace's stairwells, the chambers get increasingly cramped and the ceilings lower. Andrew's office is located on the ninth floor of the palace, necessitating a considerable ascent from the splendor below. There was a sense of a bubble around this office in fall 2019, and it was difficult to see beyond the palace walls.

At this point, Prince Andrew's head of staff Amanda Thirsk approached Maitlis and her colleagues with the offer of a candid interview. A long shot, to be sure. On-the-record interviews aren't done by the royal family, a source claims. There is no embarrassment in revealing their plans. "But not at random."" Since Princess Diana opened up to Martin Bashir on the BBC's Panorama show in 1995, members of the royal family have been particularly wary of giving on-camera interviews.

Even so, Maitlis bravely made her pitch. As she recalled telling Thirsk, "He can make his case; we can ask all the questions that might feel embarrassing, but are worthwhile." In my mind, [this interview] would never take place. But if you didn't make your point, you'd be kicking yourself."

Prince Andrew expressed an interest in an interview after the meeting, but he would only discuss his philanthropic and commercial endeavors. That offer was turned down by Maitlis and her team. Years passed and Prince Andrew's friendship with Epstein became even more divisive in the media's gaze. The Newsnight team was welcomed back to the palace in the fall of 2019.

As Maitlis recalls, "and this time we met the prince himself."

Andrew and his aides had decided that a BBC Newsnight interview would be a good place to air his grievances about Jeffrey Epstein, a source familiar with the prince's predicament said. In their opinion, people would trust him if he could relate his side of the story," they said. They had high hopes that this would be the panacea." His longstanding head of staff, Thirsk is thought to have been open to it. The insider said, "We're talking about someone who is extremely loyal." It's almost like you become the person you work for." She was looking out for his best interests. It's possible that the advise he's receiving isn't what he really needs to hear."
"Nobody could convince Prince Andrew to do something if he didn't want to do it himself," one observer says of the interview.

In the prince's office at Buckingham Palace, Maitlis and her colleagues were surprised to find themselves "under the eaves" of the palace, as she would recall later. "Under a sloping roof, at a mahogany table," they were given a tea service with bone china cups with the queen's insignia. Before she knew it, Prince Andrew grasped Maitlis' hands and told her that he was going to explain why he believed the photos of him and Ms. Giuffre was likely a doctored fake.

Warm, honest questions like "What are your greatest concerns?" were asked during the discussion. 'What do you hope to gain from this experience?'" Maitlis says this. As much as I would have like to do this interview, I didn't want to jeopardize my chances by acting dishonestly.

Prince Andrew stated that he only wanted to clear the air, present his side of the story, and put the past in its proper perspective. In Maitlis's words, "He basically wanted to push back via us at the press coverage"

It was decided that those who were opposed to the interview, among them Sarah Ferguson, would not be heard. "Nothing like, 'You can only take 10 minutes to ask me about Ghislaine and Epstein, and that's all," says one surprised royal observer,"nothing like Andrew contemplating the unthinkable: agreeing to an on-camera interview without conditions."

One last issue had to be handled before they could move on. According to Andrew, he had to "get permission from above."

Maitlis would write, "It dawns on us that he meant the queen herself."

The next morning at eight o'clock, I received a telegram instructing me to contact the Duke of York's office.

There appears to be a strong presence of the queen on board.
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Arrangements for the interview were made for November 14, 2019. So, everything was set for Thursday because we got a call on Monday. That's what Maitlis says. From Monday to Thursday, I was frightened that they would disappear altogether and that we would not be up to speed.

As part of their investigation, she and her colleagues dug deep into the complex case. Wren and Maitlis began "role-playing" as the interrogator and the prince. To be safe, they anticipated that Prince Andrew would "push back a lot harder" if the questions were considered to be "somewhat undignified," saying "I don't think it is proper."

Despite her best efforts, she was aware that a single mistake could destroy the entire conversation. She can also lose her audience if she's excessively pushy or disrespectful. 'You know, how dare you talk to royalty like this?' she asks. It seemed as though the list of questions would go on forever: "Every allegation, every narrative twist, everything we truly do not understand."

My recollection is that Esme asked me, "Do I say "Your Highness" all the way through, or just once or twice?"

Then there's the specter of sexual activity to cling to. Forensic details that could be used in any future court trial were not merely details of a person's sex life.

It was dawn when Maitlis awoke after a night of restless sleep on the day of the event. What to wear was the first question that loomed large on the horizon. It seemed as if she was attempting to move in, because she had put her "interview jacket," a beige military-style jacket that had seen her through many Newsnight confessionals, into a silver Sweaty Betty bag "bursting at the seams with shoes and jackets." When they arrived at Buckingham Palace, she and Jake Morris took a taxi there.

If I don't ask about the photo, will I be in trouble? she enquired of Morris in the cab How would things turn out if I am afraid to bring up sexual topics while bathing?"

He reassured her that he'd be there to point out any omissions from the stands.
They entered via the queen's door. A "huge bottom level ballroom" used by the queen as a "movie room for workers once a week, on a Thursday," according to Maitlis, is where they were sent this time. They were met at the door by Prince Andrew. When he shook everyone's hands, he appeared "nearly delighted," according to Maitlis.

After a few minutes, they were seated across from each other in front of the television. "How am I going to accomplish this?" she wondered aloud as she drove home. Prince Andrew is seated next to me. As a professional, this is going to be the most difficult time of my career."

Her instincts kicked in, however. "As soon as you start listening to the replies, you know what's going to happen," she continues. I'm referring to this as "muscular memory." ...and so it was that seated in the splendor of Buckingham Palace, the Duchess of York's son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, became just another person caught up in the web of his own words. All of the customary protocol had been thrown out the window, as Maitlis would later remember. "This must face the issue head-on." Take a look at the elephant. It's time to put it away. Take heed of its words."

At the start of Maitlis' speech, the monarch was informed that they had arrived at Buckingham Place "under most extraordinary circumstances." It's not unusual for us to talk about your job or duties; we will get to that, but today you've decided to express yourself for the first time. "What's the point of talking now?"

Why? "Because Mr. Epstein and all things associated have no good time," he said.

Maitlis later described Andrew as "unleashed" from that point on. Unstoppable. A decade of silent frustration had finally driven him to spill the beans... He divulged information he didn't need to share."

Epstein was simply the "plus-one" to "his girlfriend," Ghislaine Maxwell, whom Andrew had known since the 1980s, he said. He maintained they were not close. "I never have truly partied," he said, when asked if he went to Epstein's large New York estate to have a good time. He was solely there to learn from Epstein. Having served in the Navy, "a rather solitary business, because you're out at sea the whole time," Andrew felt Epstein, the global financier, may be able to convey some important expertise to him in his new post as special envoy for international commerce and investment.

In order to describe him as a close friend, Andrew said, "It would be a tremendous stretch to do so." As I recall from his dinner parties, he had the most amazing capacity to bring people together from all walks of life, including academics, politicians, and members of the United Nations. U.S. "eminents" were present in a cosmopolitan gathering.

Angry, Maitlis demanded additional information. Having pleaded guilty to two counts, including enticing a minor for prostitution, Epstein was arrested and incarcerated in Palm Beach, Florida, in 2008. According to Maitlis, "he was freed in July [2009]". When you arrived at his New York residence in December of 2010, why did you stay there for so long??" 'Why did you choose to live with someone who has been convicted of rape?'
It was Andrew's main objective for making the trip to New York, "to communicate to him that because he was guilty, it was wrong for us to be seen together," that he wanted to do so. When they were caught walking together in Central Park, he claimed that's exactly what he was telling Epstein.

Under Maitlis's rigorous interrogation, Andrew admitted to travelling on Epstein's plane, staying on his private island, and visiting Maxwell's London home while Maitlis was present. Maitlis then recounted the many occasions Andrew had reciprocated Epstein's hospitality in Great Britain, where Epstein had been able to join "the heart of the royal family at your invitation." On June 21, 2000, Epstein attended the "Dance of the Decades" at Windsor Castle, which marked the birthdays of Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother. He posed in costume with other guests Maxwell and Harvey Weinstein. Sandringham, the queen's country residence and where Andrew threw a birthday bash for Maxwell, was also visited by Epstein.

Yes, that was a shooting weekend, Andrew said. "Simply a shooting weekend," as the saying goes.

"However, he was a visitor at Windsor Castle, at Sandringham, and at the shooting weekend during these times—"

That's a good point. Andrew nodded in agreement.

According to Maitlis, "We now know that he procured young females for sex trafficking." "We now have that information. I saw him in the US and stayed at his homes in the US, and there was absolutely no indication at that time...oh, no...no sign whatsoever. In addition, you must keep in mind that I was patron of the [National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's] Full Stop campaign at the time, so I was familiar with the issues surrounding the elimination of child abuse, but I never saw anything."

For a long time the talk went on and on, until it finally came to a vital point: the mention of the 17-year-old girl who alleges she was flown across the oceans by Epstein and given $15,000 to dance with a prince when she was just 17.

"Virginia Roberts, an accuser of Epstein's—"

That's what Andrew said.

"—has leveled charges against you. " I met you in 2001, according to her account. She claims to have eaten and danced with you in London's Tramp nightclub. She had intercourse with you in the Belgravia home of your acquaintance, Ghislaine Maxwell. "What's your take?"

As far as I know, I have no recall of ever having met this woman.

A shot taken by Epstein in Ghislaine Maxwell's home has finally been released to the public thanks to Virginia Roberts.

This is when things become tricky. According to Andrew, "I never saw Epstein with a camera in my life." He also stated that he had no memory of "that photograph ever being shot" in his lifetime.

"As a member of the royal family...I take very, very few photographs," he explained. "I'm not a fan of public demonstrations of affection, and hugging isn't one of them," I say.

In response to Virginia Roberts' claims that he purchased drinks at the bar in Tramps, he said, "I don't know where the bar is in Tramps. I'm not a big drinker. During my time at Tramps, I don't recall ever purchasing a beverage.
"I couldn't have danced with her on the date that's being suggested, I was at home with the children," he said. To celebrate her birthday, I took Beatrice to a PizzaExpress in Woking at four or five o'clock in the afternoon. We have a basic rule in our family that says that if one member is absent, the other must be present. At the time, I was home because I was on terminal leave from the Royal Navy. "

"That night was quite specific in her memory," I recall thinking. Dancing with you had been on her mind."

“No.”

It's possible she took a bath after seeing you sweating profusely, according to Maitlis.

During their first meeting, Andrew asked Maitlis if she found his inability to sweat interesting, and she replied, "Yes." While serving in the military, Maitlis was fascinated by adrenaline and how the body reacts to stress, which he now uses in his work as an on-air personality. "And I said, "Funny enough, it truly is,"" he says.

His "peculiar physical condition [induced by] an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at, and I simply...it was practically hard for me to sweat" was now all laid bare in front of the cameras, as he explained.
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Virginia Roberts Giuffre holds a photo of herself at 16, the age she says she met Ghislaine Maxwell while working at Mar-a-Lago.By Emily Michot/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service/Getty Images.

He had “racked” his brain for any recollection of Virginia Roberts and had come up empty: “I have no recollection of ever meeting her…. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.”

What about her allegations that he had sex with her three times, Maitlis asked.

“No.”

“No to all of those?”

“All of it, absolutely no to all of it.”

“Why would she be saying those things?”

“We wonder exactly the same, but I have no idea, absolutely no idea.”

Asked if he regretted his friendship with Epstein, the prince replied, “Now, still not, and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.” But Andrew did admit one error. “As far as Mr. Epstein was concerned, it was the wrong decision to go and see him in 2010,” he said of the fateful visit that produced the photograph of him strolling with the predator through Central Park.

Mr. Epstein, please.

The word lingered in the stuffy, stuffy air of Buckingham Palace.

"That cosmopolitan circle of what I would describe as U.S. eminents," according to Andrew, had lured Prince Andrew into Epstein's filthy world with the lure of money, women, and power. Epstein was poised to attack once more from beyond the dead, this time devouring Andy alive in front of the entire world.

"Do I regret the fact that he has clearly behaved in an unprofessional manner??" Andrew agreed.

Maitlis had spent the better part of her professional life preparing for this moment, putting 20 years of muscle memory to work on a single phrase. Almost instinctively, she responded.

“Unbecoming?” she asserted. A sex offender, that's what he was."

The prince was teetering on the edge of a cliff, ready to unleash a torrent of words.

She commented, "You stayed with him."

Because it wasn't appropriate for a royal, "I stayed with him, and that's the...the...that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis, because it wasn't anything that was becoming of a member of the royal family."

As a result of that, the hour had come to an end peacefully.

Another surprise awaited the prince and his staff after they were done: they thought it had gone well. According to rumors, some people believed the interview could alter public perceptions of Prince Charming and his relationship with the predator. Maitlis says, "I'm sure he was pleased." "We parted ways amicably. Apparently, he told his mother how pleased he was with the outcome. Maitlis was given a tour of the palace by him that included viewing monuments, artwork, and even Queen Elizabeth II's office, where she holds weekly audiences with the country's prime ministers. Maitlis recalls that he "issued an invitation for me to return" and "agreed to talk about other things: engineering, entrepreneurship, business, all of the stuff he was working on with his charity."

Maitlis and Wren at the BBC watched and edited the interview in awe as it unfolded in front of their eyes. Wren recalls, "We just couldn't believe what we had."

In the words of Maitlis, "It just kept giving. That interview would have been a lot more dramatic if we just had 15 minutes of it. They were given about an hour.

Even the hard-boiled Fleet Street reporters gasped when they saw the transcript of the interview the next day. Her phone started filling up with "holy shits," as Maitlis puts it. On Saturday, November 16, BBC Two broadcast a documentary titled Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal. The ratings were just as high as the public's response.

Prince Andrew's desperate, toe-curling bullsh*t." His actions were completely out of character. 'Insane,' tweeted Piers Morgan of Good Morning Britain.

The Mirror headline read, "NO SWEAT..AND NO REGRET."

CNN called the Prince Andrew interview a PR disaster and a national laugh. As the Washington Post put it, "the interview was a car crash," and as The New York Times noted, "experts on the royal family have described the interview as the biggest public relations debacle for the British royal family since the turbulent aftermath of Princess Diana's death in a car crash in 1997."

Charlie Proctor, editor-in-chief of Royal Central, wrote, "I expected a train wreck." This was a jet slamming into an oil tanker, which caused a tsunami, which in turn triggered a nuclear explosion.

Former British ambassador Craig Murray stated Prince Andrew's claim that he never pays for drinks was the only truthful one in the entire interview.

Witness accounts followed. When Giuffre claimed to have danced with Prince Andrew on March 10, 2001, a London lady named Shukri Walker came forward and told the Sun newspaper that she was at Tramp that night. She claimed to have seen Prince Andrew dancing with "a young girl" that night and recalled seeing him after apologizing to him for treading on his foot. Her lawyer told The Guardian that he was "happy, laughing, and dancing, and Virginia did not look happy.". She went to the FBI and told them her story. "She doesn't remember the specific day," Walker's lawyer Lisa Bloom told the Telegraph earlier this month. This was the first time she had ever seen a royal in person and it made a lasting impression on the young woman.

Every night of the week, according to a close friend of Andrew's, there are paparazzi waiting outside of Tramp. On the night of his claimed visit with Giuffre, Maxwell, and Epstein, there are no images of Prince Andrew at Tramp, but three nights later, there are shots of him there with Sarah Ferguson.

A former palace guard, who is reported to have served for 23 years, told the Daily Mail a narrative that seemed to discredit Andrew's PizzaExpress alibi. On March 10, 2001, a guard was on duty at Buckingham Palace's North-Center Gate. Despite his best efforts, he was denied access to his service record for that particular date owing to "national security" concerns. After all these years, Andrew and his bodyguard had come barreling up the palace gates in the prince's green Jaguar after midnight, and he was sure he was at the north gate after that.

"Its lights were flashing, and its horn was blaring," added the guard. What a notion occurred to me: "God! What in the world are they doing there? "Damn, it's him," I thought to myself as I dash out the door. As soon as I saw his face, I said, "It's

He said, "Open these damned gates, you buffoons!" over the radio, the guard who was accompanying Andrew.

Prince Andrew may have arrived home from PizzaExpress or Sunninghill Park in the early evening, according to my calculations," the guard explained. At some point throughout the day or early evening, he returned to his private accommodations at Tramp and Maxwell's house, which is a short walk away.

There was no joke on late-night television or in headlines that could compare to what was said during the interview. Virginia Roberts Giuffre was on the other side of the world, on the far coast of Australia. Attorney Sigrid McCawley, who represents Giuffre and other victims, says, "She was tremendously angry that he would not take responsibility for what he had done." In front of the television, I had to sit there and watch Prince Andrew not take responsibility and say, "She's incorrect. My memory of her is completely blank. The victim of sexual trafficking will be offended by this.

She might have left if Prince Andrew had expressed any type of remorse.

Instead, she launched the legal process that would further ensnare the prince in the Epstein maze.

At the age of 17, Virginia L. Giuffre filed Civil Action No. 1:21-cv-06702 against Prince Andrew, Duke of York (as Andrew Albert Christian Edward), alleging first- and third-degree rape by Prince Andrew.

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A flurry of royal support for the beleaguered prince was visible as news of the disastrous interview spread throughout the globe. According to a statement from Andrew, he was forced to resign away from his public obligations following the interview, which was described by a long-time royal observer as "the biggest act of self-harm by any member of the royal family since the Middle Ages." He expressed regret for his "ill-judged affiliation" with Epstein and claimed that he was "ready to help any suitable law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

A few weeks later, Prince William and the Queen were spotted riding horses together in Windsor Castle's stables—a clear statement that the monarch was still firmly behind him in the face of storms. Someone with knowledge of the event said, "They sought to utilize the queen as a protective shield." As a sign of support, they took pictures of Andrew riding with the queen the following day." As a result, the queen was placed in a precarious position, and the decision was a major tactical mistake. Buckingham Palace was compelled to take a stand as a result. Viruses near the queen are out of the question. "The rug is ripped out from under you." Buckingham Palace was infected by a virus that had taken hold in Jeffrey Epstein. When asked about the impact of the interview, one of Andrew's close friends described it as "catastrophic". When it got worse, it got worse. It was a crescendo of horrors.

Angry and upset, Andrew became increasingly agitated in the weeks after the interview. "10 or 15 men and women arriving in small groups with distinct concerns at the Royal Lodge," recalls an acquaintance, were in crisis meetings with him. How was Andrew's demeanor during the meetings?" He and his family and the royal brand as a whole feel a great sense of unfairness that this is a terrible injustice to him and his mother. His reaction to the results and the public's reaction to the interview was very, very negative. He was confident that it would be a great success. It was a failure. "And it took him some time to comprehend how poorly that was regarded," he said. "

In the Royal Lodge, George IV's magnificent home built to entertain guests at the Royal Ascot horse races, where Princess Margaret announced her engagement to Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, where the queen mother lived for 70 years sipping her gin and Dubonnet, where the queen regularly prays at the Royal Chapel of All Saints on the lodge's sacred 98-acre grounds, Andrew braced himself for what might come next—and how to deal with it.

Cesar Augusto Sepulveda, a 35-year-old process server, showed up at 9:30 a.m. on August 26, 2021.
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Sepulveda is a criminologist, a qualified fraud examiner, and a partner in a London-based intelligence organization. To gather information for due diligence cases for lawyers, banks, family offices, insurance companies, and wealthy individuals, his work as a corporate investigator occasionally brings him to the murky regions of the dark web. Some of the world's largest law firms use him to deliver legal paperwork that could land people in prison or shackle them in court for their whole lives to unsuspecting persons.

After a 25-mile drive from central London to Windsor Great Park, Sepulveda reached the vast and ornate main gates of the Royal Lodge on the morning of August 26. In 2002, the queen gifted the 30-room home, which had belonged to the royal family for two centuries, on Andrew, her son. Sepulveda, on the other hand, found the address meaningless. He was not there to serve a prince, but rather a "defendant," as stated in the court documents.

Sepulveda had the American summons in his hand as he approached the Royal Lodge's gates. This security chief told him that "he could not raise anyone in charge," Sepulveda claimed in an affidavit later on. A London Metropolitan Police officer who oversaw the security team then stated that Andrew's staff was unavailable and the officers at the gates "had been directed not to accept service of any court process...and anything left there would not be conveyed to said Defendant," according to the Guardian.

When Dorothy and her yellow brick road companions arrived at the gates of Oz's powerful Wizard, the wizard behind the curtain of fire yelled, "Come back tomorrow!" After being turned away, Sepulveda left with the name and phone number of Prince Andrew's lawyer, who did not answer his call, just like Dorothy had been.

At 9:15 a.m. the following day, Sepulveda returned. He requested a "personal meeting" with Prince Andrew this time. Denial of his request came quickly. Officers "could not answer any inquiries" when asked about "the Defendant's whereabouts."

A guard assured him that "this matter would be transferred to the Legal Team" after he successfully left the summons at the main gate and obtained an assurance from him.
He was confident that the defendant had been properly served.

Was he still alive? A protracted legal battle regarding the legality of the summons ensued before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, lasting several months. Andrew's lawyers filed a 36-page motion for dismissal on October 29 of last year, beginning with the unequivocal assertion that "Andrew never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre" and going on to describe her lawsuit as "baseless," her rhetoric as "lurid," and her goal as nothing more than a "payday.". By selling stories and photos to the media as well as entering into secret settlements with her alleged abusers, she had "profited" from them, the letter said. Giuffre has amassed an impressive amount of wealth throughout the course of her career. Giuffre has a solid reason to continue filing spurious lawsuits against persons such as Prince Andrew, whose tarnished reputation is only the latest collateral damage of the Epstein disaster.... Acclaiming a member of the world's most famous royal family of serious misbehavior has helped Giuffre create a media frenzy," which has "prevailed over the facts," according to the New York Post.

Giuffre had already "resolved her sex-trafficking and sexual abuse charges against Epstein in 2009," according to Andrew's counsel. For $500,000, they claimed that Giuffre agreed to indemnify "any and all persons listed by Giuffre as prospective targets of future lawsuits, regardless of the merit—or lack thereof" in "a broad release" negotiated by Epstein himself.
That 2009 settlement deal "axiomatically included" Prince Andrew, according to the motion.
Judge Kaplan's comment took two months to come out. In a ruling deeming Epstein's settlement agreement "ambiguous," the judge rejected Prince Andrew's move to dismiss "in all respects," as the New York Post phrased it.

In 2015, the New York Daily News ran a piece with the headline: "Jeffrey Epstein accuser was not a sex slave, but a money-hungry sex kitten, her former friends say.") The judge rejected Andrew's attorneys' request to allow news coverage to be presented as evidence.

In the end, the request to dismiss had been a last-ditch Hail Mary attempt, and its denial was devastating—"a big setback for Prince Andrew" (Evening Standard), who, unless a settlement with his accuser, will "face a hugely expensive and reputation-shredding court action" (Daily Mail).

According to a long-time acquaintance of Prince Andrew's, "He was peering into the abyss—confident in his innocence and that he would succeed in the move to dismiss. It's now or never, as the saying goes.

The queen had the most devastating reaction.

For the first time in British history, Queen Elizabeth will honor her 70th birthday with a Platinum Jubilee. At a time when the monarchy is plunging deeper and deeper into the Epstein quagmire, she will do so. Princesses Charles and William reportedly advised the queen to take urgent action. As a royal observer put it, "It's business, not personal,'" and Andrew's "toxicity" had to be separated from the Crown.

The guillotine's blade slashed down with great force. Buckingham Palace published a statement on January 13, the day after Judge Kaplan rejected Andrew's appeal, saying, "With The Queen's assent and cooperation, The Duke of York's military associations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. This case is being defended by the Duke of York as a private citizen, thus he will not be performing any public obligations.

The wrath of Jeffrey Epstein has been passed down to Andrew, who is no longer His Royal Highness. Andrew is now simply another defendant on the docket.
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This is the second installment of a two-part series on Prince Andrew’s entanglement with Jeffrey Epstein. The first part, detailing how a team of tabloid journalists caught the British royal and the convicted sex offender together in New York City in December 2010, can be found here.

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