Duchess defends ex-husband Andrew
The Duke of York's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson has defended him against "shockingly accusatory allegations" that he had sex with an underage teenager.
The Duchess of York described Prince Andrew as a "humongously good man" when she was asked about the scandal on US morning television show Today.
She told the presenter the family stood by the denial issued by Buckingham Palace after the Duke was named in US civil court documents as having sex with the woman when she was a minor.
Sarah said: "I won't stand by, because I know what it feels like to have salacious lies made up about you, and not support him so publicly because they are just shockingly accusatory allegations, which I don't think that's right.
"It's defamation of character and, as a great father and humongously good man and all the work he does for Britain, I won't stand by and let him have his character defamed to this level."
She added: "I'll have not one word said about him on any level."
When asked if Andrew knew the woman involved - identified in reports as Virginia Roberts - Sarah said she would not discuss the subject.
She said: "Buckingham Palace has put out the denial and I, as his best friend and my best ex husband ever and the most wonderful father to the girls, will not be drawn on any subject."
In a strongly-worded statement Buckingham Palace has said: "It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.
"The allegations made are false and without any foundation."
Andrew was named in US civil court documents as having sex with the woman on three separate occasions when she was a minor.
She is said to have been "procured" for him by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire American financier, who she accuses of using her as a "sex slave".
The Duke vehemently denies the allegations against him.
Ms Roberts, a US citizen, waived her anonymity in an interview with The Mail On Sunday in 2011, in which she claimed she had been sexually exploited by Epstein - a former friend of the Duke.
In the US court papers, she goes further and alleges that between 1999 and 2002 she "was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor'' in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein where an orgy took place.
The accusation is contained in a motion filed last month in a Florida court by Ms Roberts who wants to join an existing lawsuit, launched by two other alleged Epstein victims, against federal prosecutors' handling of the financier's case.
Epstein was jailed for 18 months in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution but lawyers for the women claim a secret plea deal he struck with prosecutors granting him, and any potential co-conspirators, immunity from further prosecution violated their clients' rights.