Royals

Buckingham Palace responds to Virginia Roberts' claims about Prince Andrew

The Palace denies the claims.

Buckingham Palace has responded to allegations made by Prince Andrews' accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre in a BBC interview.
Virginia Roberts has claimed that she slept with the royal when she was 17 years old after being introduced to him by convicted child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She gave her first UK interview this week, which was broadcast on Monday by the BBC.
In the interview, which is part of a documentary called The Prince and the Epstein Scandal, Virginia gives her account of how she was introduced to the royal by Epstein. She claims that they slept together after going to Tramps nightclub in London with Epstein and his girlfriend, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
"It was disgusting," Ms. Giuffre said. "I sat there in bed and felt horrified and ashamed."
"I had just been abused by a member of the royal family. These powerful people were my chains."
Ms. Giuffre's account of the trip in 2001, and of two other incidents when she said she had sex with Prince Andrew at Mr. Epstein's homes in New York and in the Caribbean, was the first time she described her story for a British audience.
Buckingham Palace has responded, denying the claims.
A statement released on Monday evening UK time read: "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."
The palace also addressed mounting criticism of the Duke of York's association with Jeffrey Epstein, stating: "The Duke of York unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
"Epstein's suicide left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims. The Duke deeply sympathises with those affected who want some form of closure. It is his hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.
"The Duke is willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.
"The Duke has already stated that he did not see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to Jeffrey Epstein's arrest and conviction. He deplores the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour."
The Palace response has come less than two weeks after an announcement from the Duke of York that he is stepping down from his public duties.
This announcement came amidst mounting criticism and pressure following a car crash interview he gave with the BBC to address his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. In the BBC Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, he was pressed on his relationship with the disgraced financier, who died by suicide while in custody three months ago, and addressed the allegations laid against him by one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged she was forced to have sexual encounters with the prince as a teenager.
The royal largely came across as unrepentant and within 24 hours of it airing many of his sponsors had withdrawn their backing of him.
Prince Andrew, 59, began his statement: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances related to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support."
He continued: "Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.
"I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
"I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives."
Concluding: "Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
On the Royal Family's official website, Prince Andrew's public work is described as having a strong economic and business focus and concentrated on three core areas: education and skills, entrepreneurship and science and technology and engineering.
It adds that he splits his time between supporting The Queen and attending his own engagements "many of which help promote and reward the work of the 200-plus charities and organisations of which he is Patron."