Belfast Telegraph

Duke's official duties curtailed over Epstein links

Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

The Duke of York's visit to Northern Ireland has been derailed just days after his first public engagement since the death of his friend, paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew's appearance at Dartmouth Royal Regatta last Friday came almost three weeks after disgraced billionaire Epstein was found dead in his New York prison cell on August 10.

It prompted calls for Buckingham Palace to ban the duke from carrying out official duties amid the controversy surrounding his relationship with Mr Epstein, whom he first met in 1999.

Royal author Angela Levin was among the critics.

"He's a patron of 30 charities that protect children," she said.

"I don't think it's appropriate."

Prince Andrew has previously admitted staying in properties owned by Mr Epstein but insisted he saw him "infrequently".

"At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction," he has stated previously.

In 2010 Prince Andrew was photographed in New York with Mr Epstein, who had served a prison sentence for soliciting a minor for prostitution - a visit the duke later acknowledged as an "error of judgment".

In 2015 the duke was named in court papers as part of a US civil case taken against Epstein by Virginia Roberts.

Court papers contained claims she was ordered to give the prince "whatever he required" after being trafficked internationally to have sex with prominent and powerful people.

Andrew, who spent three days in Northern Ireland while attending the Open Championship in July, has denied any sexual contact with Ms Roberts or any allegation of impropriety.

Belfast Telegraph

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