Prince Andrew has denied allegations of having sex with a 17-year-old and spoken about his controversial friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The second son of Queen Elizabeth is eighth in line to the throne and Prince Andrew, 59, has been criticised for his connection to Epstein who died in custody in August.
The interview with BBC’s Newsnight is the first time the prince has answered questions about his relationship with Epstein after Buckingham Palace issued a number of statements regarding the friendship over the past four years saying the claims were “false and without foundation”.
It was through Epstein Prince Andrew allegedly met Virginia Roberts-Giuffre in 2001 when she was just 17.
Ms Roberts-Giuffre has alleged she and Prince Andrew dined together and went to a nightclub in London before having sex.
However, the Duke of York denies ever meeting Ms Roberts-Giuffre and says instead of going nightclubbing with her and having sex with her, he was at a pizza restaurant in Woking, southwest of London, before going home.
“I was with the children and I'd taken [my daughter] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon," he told the BBC.
Prince Andrew was then asked how he could remember going to a pizza joint 18 years ago, to which he said going to Pizza Express in Woking was an “unusual thing” for him to do.
Prince Andrew has “categorically” denied having sex with Ms Roberts-Giuffre who alleges they had sex on three occasions.
"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," the Duke of York said.
"I've said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever.
"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Prince ‘doesn’t recollect’ photo with Epstein accuser
A photograph showing Prince Andrew with his arm around Ms Roberts-Giuffre from 2001 with Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell in the background has been widely published.
But the Duke’s supporters have questioned the authenticity of the photo.
In the interview Prince Andrew suggested the photo may be doctored.
"I don't believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested," he said, claiming he had never been in the upstairs area of Ms Maxwell's London flat where it was taken.
"Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don't recollect that photograph ever being taken."
After Epstein’s death Ms Roberts-Giuffre, who says she was abused by Epstein for years and farmed out to his wealthy friends including Prince Andrew, said "the reckoning must not end, it must continue".
"He knows exactly what he's done and I hope he comes clean about it," she told reporters after a US hearing on August 27 at which other alleged Epstein victims also described how they were abused.
Ms Roberts-Giuffre previously testified that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in London in 2001 when she was 17.
She said she had sex with him again in New York and on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean.
But the allegations were struck from the record by a US judge in 2015, who said the "lurid details" were not needed to decide a civil case concerning Epstein.
She has filed a lawsuit in the US accusing Epstein of using her as a "sex slave", while federal officials say they are continuing to investigate anyone who may have aided him.
– with AFP
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