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Prince Andrew denies claims he had sex with underage girl

By Tony Jones

The Duke of York has spoken out publicly for the first time to deny allegations he had sex with an under-age teenager.

Andrew, looking resolute and calm, said he wanted to "reiterate and reaffirm" Buckingham Palace statements dismissing accusations, made in US court documents, that he had sex with a woman on three separate occasions when she was a minor.

Lawyers acting for Virginia Roberts, a mother-of-three now in her 30s, have filed a letter in a Florida court addressed to the duke at Buckingham Palace, asking him to take part in a two-hour interview.

Speaking to leading figures from the worlds of politics and business at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, Andrew said: "Firstly I think I must, (and) want, for the record to refer to the events that have taken place in the last few weeks and I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements which have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace."

He went on to say: "My focus is on my work."

Andrew started his speech by denying the claims, but made no further mention of them as he went on to talk about his work promoting entrepreneurs.

Paul Brewster, one of the entrepreneurs brought under Andrew's Pitch@Palace initiative, declined to talk about the allegations made against Andrew but said: "All I can say is Pitch@Palace has given me a great opportunity.''

He is part of a small Belfast-based company developing technology to produce electricity from offshore wave power.

Mr Brewster said: "The duke told us to be ourselves; that was his message - and make the most of the opportunity.''

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