Exactly how close were Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew?
Jeffrey Epstein has friends in high places. He also has friends in royal palaces. Epstein went to birthday parties and private celebrations with the royal family, all thanks to his friendship with Prince Andrew.
Prince Andrew is keeping details of his relationship with Epstein private, but here’s what we know about their friendship.
How did Epstein and Prince Andrew meet?
Prince Andrew told the BBC he met Epstein in 1999 through Ghislaine Maxwell, Prince Andrew’s friend from university, and Epstein’s girlfriend. Prince Andrew flew on Epstein’s private jet known popularly as The Lolita Express in February 1999 to Little St. James, Epstein’s infamous private island.
In 2011 Prince Andrew’s private secretary recalled Prince Andrew meeting Epstein “in the early 1990s”, casting doubt on when Prince Andrew and Epstein actually met.
Relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell
Prince Andrew knew Epstein through Ghislaine Maxwell; the royal’s close relationship with Maxwell allowed Epstein into royal parties and onto Prince Andrew’s estate.
For example, in December 2000, Prince Andrew threw Maxwell a surprise birthday party at the Queen’s estate at which Epstein was in attendance. Epstein also attended Prince Andrew’s daughter Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party in 2006. One month earlier, Epstein was charged with solicitation of prostitution.
Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew also went on multiple trips together around the world, including Epstein’s private island and Epstein’s estates.
Former UK trade envoy
Prince Andrew became a UK trade envoy in 2001 after retiring from the Royal Navy. However, Prince Andrew was constantly under scrutiny for his “rude” behavior and having lunches and taking trips with known criminals.
Prince Andrew’s position as trade envoy was threatened even more in March 2011 when details were released about his close relationship with Epstein. In July 2011, Prince Andrew officially stepped down as a UK trade envoy.
Sexual assault allegations
Virginia Roberts Giuffre was the first survivor to accuse Prince Andrew of sexual assault. In 2015, Prince Andrews was named in court; Giuffre claimed she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in multiple locations, including Epstein’s Little St. James Island, between 2001 & 2002. Giuffre was underage at the time.
Giuffre’s allegations about Prince Andrew were struck from the record in court because the judge ruled her claims were “immaterial and impertinent” to the case.
Prince Andrew said he didn’t remember meeting Giuffre. However, there’s a photograph from 2001 of Prince Andrew with Giuffre & Ghislaine Maxwell. Flight logs also show Giuffre & Prince Andrew were in the same locations Giuffre claimed to be sexually abused.
Johanna Sjoberg also accused Prince Andrew of sexual assault when he touched her inappropriately at Epstein’s apartment in 2001.
Prince Andrew and the UK royal family deny these allegations.
Consequences & aftermath
In November 2019, Prince Andrew participated in a controversial interview with Newsnight on the BBC. Though the conversation was meant to reveal the truth about his relationship with Epstein, the broadcast turned into one of the biggest royal scandals to date.
Prince Andrew denied sexual assault allegations against him, yet said he didn’t regret his friendship with Epstein. Prince Andrew received widespread backlash because of this interview; consequently, Prince Andrew stepped down from his public duties.
Though Prince Andrew announced he would resign for the “foreseeable future” in May 2020, he later permanently resigned from all public roles.
Prince Andrew’s statements in the Newsnight interview contradict his earlier statements in August 2019, when he said it was “a mistake and an error” to spend time with Epstein in 2010. This statement was made shortly after Epstein’s arrest in 2019.