By Anna Dutton
Following Prince Andrew’s interview on BBC Newsnight recently, the events concerning the Prince and his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre has become shrouded in humour and has even become the subject of memes across social media. But, behind the jokes and TV appearances, what was the series of events that has led up to where we are now?
Virginia Giuffre who was one of the accusers in the Jeffrey Epstein sexual trafficking case has claimed she was forced into having sex with Prince Andrew three times. The Prince has been facing questions for a number of months surrounding the Epstein case and has categorically denied all the claims against him in the recent BBC Newsnight interview.
Jeffrey Epstein was a wealthy financier from the US who was awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges. In 2005, the charges were first brought against Mr Epstein by the parents of a 14-year old girl who they said had been molested by Epstein in his Palm Beach house. After the police searched his property, pictures of girls were found throughout the house. Epstein avoided federal charges and was given an 18-month prison sentence, during which time he was permitted to go to work for 12 hours of the day, 6 days a week. The Miami Herald stated that Alexander Acosta, the federal prosecutor, was able to strike a deal that meant the FBI investigation into whether more people were affected, and the status of those people, was suppressed. Epstein is believed to have committed suicide at the age of 66 whilst he was awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.
Prince Andrew and Epstein were spotted together on a variety of occasions in different settings and the Price said in his interview with the BBC that his relationship with Epstein had “some seriously beneficial outcomes” unrelated to the accusations against both of them. Prince Andrew says he wanted to learn more about “the international business world” and this was why he had a relationship with Epstein.
The claims against Prince Andrew, as outlined by the journalist Emily Maitlis, are that Virginia Roberts (maiden name) met the Prince in 2001, dined with him, went dancing in Tramps nightclub London, and went on to have sex with Prince Andrew in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell. The Prince responded he had “no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.” He then explained that on the day he was being accused of having sex with Roberts, March 10, 2001, he had taken his daughter Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking at around “4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon” and was then at home.
Virginia Roberts then goes on to claim that Prince Andrew was “profusely sweating” as noted by the interviewer, which he denies on account of a “peculiar medical condition” and that it “was almost impossible” for the Prince to sweat, he responds. Prince Andrew denies the claim, saying ‘“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.”
After questions from the interviewer about testifying or providing a statement under oath, Prince Andrew said that “if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty-bound to do so.” Roberts alleges that she and the Prince had sex three times overall.
As cases of this nature often are, questions still remain surrounding what the next steps are and whether Prince Andrew will need to testify in the future. It remains an interesting and complex case and highlights that issues surrounding sexual crimes are still present in society.