Prince Andrew admits 'I kick myself' over friendship with Jeffrey Epstein in tell-all interview
Prince Andrew filmed a tell-all interview with the BBC during which he discussed his controversial relationship with now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the sexual assault allegations against him.
The Duke of York, 59, was interviewed by BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis on Thursday at Buckingham Palace and claimed: “I kick myself ... on a daily basis” for being friends with Epstein.
Prince Andrew answered questions directly about the scandal for the first time with Maitlis saying on social media the conversation a "no-holds-barred interview" with "no questions vetted" by royal officials.
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“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” he said in reference to Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre), who alleged that she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times between 1999 and 2002 in London and on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean.
“I stayed with him and that’s [something] I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that,” the second son of Queen Elizabeth said.
Giuffre claimed that Epstein paid her to have sex with the British royal and she was just 17 years old during her first experience.
In August, Buckingham Palace said in a statement that Andrew was "appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes."
“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent,” the palace said.
The statement was released after the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a Dec. 6, 2010 video appearing to show Andrew inside Epstein's opulent Manhattan home as the prince waves goodbye to a young woman.
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The video was recorded two years after Epstein's controversial plea deal in which he admitted to a Florida state felony charge of prostitution involving a minor. The terms of the deal included generous work release conditions for Epstein.
The duke was also photographed with Epstein in 2010 in New York's Central Park after Epstein had finished serving his 18-month prison sentence. The photos sparked controversy at the time and led Andrew to quit his role as a U.K. trade envoy in 2011, according to Sky News.
In documents released in August, a second accuser was unveiled. Johanna Sjoberg said she was 21 years old in 2001 when Andrew grabbed her breast at Epstein’s mansion in New York.
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Sjoberg testified the incident was sparked when "someone" suggested those gathered take a picture, at which point Sjoberg said she and Ghislaine Maxwell (Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged "madam") went to a closet and grabbed a puppet of Andrew.
"They told us to go get on the couch,” she said in the 2016 deposition. “And so Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet, the puppet on her lap. And so then I sat on Andrew’s lap, and, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine."
She added: “I knew it was Prince Andrew because I knew him as a person."
The court papers also include a photograph that has been in circulation since 2015 showing Andrew with his arm around Giuffre's bare waist in London in 2001. Giuffre said she was 17 at the time the photo was taken.
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Epstein, 66, died in jail Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, with prosecutors alleging that he sexually abused girls over several years in the early 2000s.
"Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal" will air on BBC 2 at 9 p.m. on Saturday. It is not clear when, if ever, the program will air in the U.S.
Fox News' Frank Miles and Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.