The Duke of York has no regrets about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, but says it was wrong to visit the convicted sex offender for a final time.
Andrew’s much anticipated appearance on BBC’s Newsnight to defend his reputation in the wake of the Epstein sex scandal, saw him admit the relationship with the disgraced financier gave him the opportunity to meet people and help prepare for his role as a trade envoy.
In attempting to draw a line under this controversial period of his life, Andrew may have opened himself up to further criticism as his admission is likely to be condemned by Epstein victim American Virginia Giuffre.
She is one of 16 women who says she was abused by the convicted paedophile Epstein, and Mrs Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, alleges the royal had sex with her when she was under age.
The duke denied he slept with Mrs Giuffre on three separate occasions when questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, saying one encounter did not happen as he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party and they spent the rest of the day together.
The same sexual encounter, which the American said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as the duke said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
The duke said the whole episode had not been damaging to the Queen, only to himself, and that the wider royal family “couldn’t be more supportive”.
When asked by Maitlis if he regretted the “whole friendship with Epstein”, the duke replied: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”
Earlier in the interview, Andrew had said he was transitioning out of the Royal Navy and wanted to the know more about the world of business as he would become the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment.
Mrs Giuffre has alleged in court documents she “was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor” in London and New York.
Later when, aged 18, she alleges they had sex again on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein where an orgy took place.
Her allegations were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent”.
Maitlis quizzed the duke about the claims: “Are you saying you don’t believe her, she’s lying?”
The duke replied: “That’s a very difficult thing to answer because I’m not in a position to know what she’s trying to achieve, but I can tell you categorically I don’t remember meeting her at all.
“I do not remember a photograph being taken and I’ve said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever.”