An American woman who says she was forced to have underage sex with Prince Andrew has appealed to Britons to take her side, saying that only she was telling the truth.
Virginia Giuffre says she was trafficked by disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein and forced to have sex with his friends, including the British royal when she was 17 years old. Andrew categorically denies the allegations.
In an interview to be broadcast on BBC TV on Tuesday morning AEST, Giuffre dismissed his denials and gave details of a trip to London in 2001 when she said she was taken by Epstein to meet the prince.
"He knows what happened. I know what happened, and there's only one of us telling the truth, and I know that's me," Giuffre told BBC Panorama in clips released by the broadcaster before it goes to air.
"I implore the people in the UK to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK. This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked, This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys' royalty."
Andrew, 59, Queen Elizabeth's second son, denies the accusations or having any relationship with Giuffre, who was previously named Virginia Roberts.
In response to the excerpts of Giuffre's interview, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "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."
Last month, the prince gave an interview himself to the BBC which he hoped would draw a line under the scandal.
However, the interview was widely regarded as a disaster for the prince, provoking days of negative headlines and culminating in the prince stepping down from royal duties as charities and other organisations distanced themselves from him.
‘Sweating all over me’
In Ms Giuffre’s interview, which was recorded before the prince spoke to the BBC, Giuffre said she was taken to the Tramp nightclub in London by Epstein and his former associate Ghislaine Maxwell, where Andrew asked her to dance, she said.
“He is the most hideous dancer I've ever seen in my life. I mean it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, like his sweat was, like it was raining basically everywhere,” she said.
“I was just like grossed out from it but I knew I had to keep him happy because that's what Jeffrey (Epstein) and Ghislaine (Maxwell) would have expected from me.”
Andrew, the eighth in line to the throne, said he could not have had sex with Giuffre on the night she alleges because he had been to a pizza restaurant in the commuter town of Woking for a children's party.
He said he suffered from a medical condition that stopped him perspiring and cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture from 2001 which showed him with his arm around Giuffre's waist.
Andrew also said he had stayed at Epstein's home in New York after the financier had been convicted of Florida state prostitution charges because he was "too honourable" and wanted to break off the friendship in person.
Those explanations provoked derision and ridicule in newspapers and social media, while the prince was also criticised for failing to show sympathy for the victims of Epstein, who allegedly killed himself in a US prison in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
‘I’m calling BS’
"The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses. Like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored, or he came to New York to break up with Jeffrey Epstein. I mean come on I'm calling BS on this, because that's what it is," Giuffre said.
In calling for the British public to support her, she urged them to “stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK.”
"This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked, This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys' royalty."
‘Giuffre sounds plausible’
Royal writer Penny Junor says Virgina Giuffre came across as a more sympathetic character compared with Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview.
Ms Junor told PA Ms Giuffre’s interview was “about as bad as it gets for Andrew”.
"Virginia Guiffre sounds very plausible in this interview, while most of Andrew's excuses in his interview with Emily Maitlis were laughable. She also comes across as a much more sympathetic character so viewers will warm to her.
"And she was clearly abused by Jeffrey Epstein and one's heart goes out to her. She is absolutely right in saying that only one of them is telling the truth but with nothing more than their television performances to go on, we have no way of knowing which of them it is."
Graham Smith of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: "This interview is likely to be hugely damaging to Andrew and the royal family.
"The Queen and Charles have known about these accusations for eight years and did nothing until it became a PR disaster.
"Still the royals hide behind palace gates denying the allegations but refusing to do anything that might help law enforcement or alleged trafficking victims in the US and the UK.
"Prince Andrew needs to be properly investigated by the Metropolitan Police and the police in the States."
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