The Duke of York, Prince Andrew said Saturday that it was a “mistake” to be friends with Jeffrey Epstein, stating that “at no stage” did he “see or suspect” any criminal behavior.
Jeffrey Epstein, allegedly hanged himself in a jail cell August 10, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. He was 66.
Prince Andrew, 59, said in a statement he wanted to “clarify the facts” around his “former association or friendship” with the US financier.
He said it was a “mistake” to meet Epstein after he left prison in 2010 on charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor.
“During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year,” Britain’s Prince Andrew said, according to the BBC.
“I have stayed in a number of his residences. At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”
The Duke of York, who said he met Jeffrey Epstein in 1999, was seen multiple times at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, including a 2013 visit where he was spotted getting a foot massage from two young Russian women, The Post reported. The Prince, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, also reportedly flew on Epstein’s private plane at least twice, including at least one flight in 2001 with Epstein’s alleged 17-year-old sex slave Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, on board, according to The Post.
Prince Andrew, who was notoriously photographed arm-in-arm with the girl around that time, expressed his “tremendous sympathy” for the convicted pedophile’s victims.
“I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know. I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and behavior.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr. Epstein’s lifestyle. I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behavior,” the Prince said.
The Sun interviewed close friends who said Prince Andrew has bedded over 1,000 women “like a sailor with a girl in every port,” but isn’t attracted to young girls.
“He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke and he doesn’t take drugs and never has, but sex is his big thing in life,” the long-time pal told the British tabloid.
“He has an eye for a pretty woman and if you added up all his girlfriends and liaisons over the years it would come to way over a thousand.” Andrew has been publicly linked with supermodels, actresses and socialites over the years, and reportedly had a shouting match defending his relationship with Epstein in 2008.
“But the Duke is not into teenage girls and why would he be? The most beautiful women in the world find him appealing and amusing.
“He was known as Randy Andy for a reason when he was younger and it’s never really stopped,” the buddy said.
That’s why he’s never remarried his ex, Sarah Ferguson, despite having a close relationship. The two are vacationing together in Spain as Andrew tries to weather the Epstein-related storm. They have two adult daughters, Beatrice, 31, and Eugenie, 29.
The Mirror reported that a former police officer claimed in 2009 that the Prince “abused” his position at the palace for female visitors, by having them not sign official visitor logs and having royal protection officers drive them home. There is no suggestion any of the female visitors were underage.
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