Britain’s Prince Andrew has said he does not remember meeting Virginia Roberts, one of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, who claims she was forced to have sex with the royal.
But Andrew admitted in an interview with the BBC due to be broadcast on Saturday that his decision to remain friends with Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor was a serious error of judgement.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” Andrew told BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis, according to extracts from “Prince Andrew and the Epstein Scandal” released ahead of the programme airing.
Andrew, 59, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and eighth in line to the throne, has been heavily criticised over his links to multimillionaire Epstein, who died in custody in the US in August.
A photograph apparently showing Andrew with his arm around then 17-year-old Roberts, now Giuffre, and with Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell standing in the background, has been widely published. Supporters of Andrew, however, have disputed its authenticity.
Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring a girl under the age of 18 for prostitution and served 13 months in a US prison before being released on probation. He was arrested in July on new federal charges that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex, but was found dead in New York’s high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10 as he awaited trial.
A coroner ruled that he committed suicide by hanging.
The BBC interview is the first time Andrew has answered questions on his relationship with Epstein. In 2015, he used a public appearance at Davos in Switzerland to deny the claims.