Buckingham Palace is forced to issue new denial on prince sex claim
Prince Andrew could be investigated by Scotland Yard as allegations that he had sexual relations with a teenage girl continue to swirl.
The Queen's second son was returning to Britain last night after a skiing trip in Switzerland following more details of allegations made by a woman who claims she was used as a "sex slave" by one of his friends was denied robustly by royal aides.
Over the weekend, Buckingham Palace issued a second denial of the claims. In it, the Palace said it "emphatically denied" that the Duke of York "had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts". It added: "The allegations are false and without any foundation."
The denial went further than a more limited statement issued by the Palace on Friday, following the naming of the Prince's accuser as Virginia Roberts, who has three children and recently returned to the United States after living in Australia.
The Metropolitan Police said it could become involved.
"We have not received any allegations at this stage. If we did receive a complaint we would investigate it," a spokesman told the Daily Telegraph. "We are, of course, duty bound to investigate any allegation of a crime that is made to us, regardless of the nature of the allegation."
The claims from Ms Roberts are part of a lawsuit before the American courts arising from the 2008 conviction on an underage sex charge of the multimillionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, a former friend of the Duke.
Two Sunday newspapers published further details of the claimed meetings between Ms Roberts and Andrew, who is fifth in line to the throne.
The fightback by royal aides is viewed as a recognition of the potential of the claims against the Prince, who is not a party to the US case and thus has no automatic right to respond, to damage both him and the royal family.
In documents laid before a Florida court, Ms Roberts alleges that she slept with the Prince on three occasions - in London, New York and during an "orgy" on a private Caribbean island owned by Mr Epstein - between 1999 and 2002.
The court document says: "Epstein also sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe (a name used in US legal proceedings for people with anonymity), making her available for sex to politically-connected and financially-powerful people.
"Epstein's purposes in 'lending' Jane Doe (along with other young girls) to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information."
It adds: "For instance, one such powerful individual Epstein forced Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with was a member of the British royal family, Prince Andrew (aka Duke of York)."