Their "Paths Crossed Several Times"
Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein met many times since being introduced in 1999 by Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's alleged girlfriend.
For most of us, the royal family includes the Queen, Prince Charles, his sons, and their families. However, did you know that Queen Elizabeth II has three other children? Princess Royal Anne, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Her younger children are senior royal family members but recently, Prince Andrew has been sidelined for his links to deceased human trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein died in 2019 while waiting for his trial on sex trafficking charges. The charges against him came a decade after he was convicted for soliciting prostitution from a minor. The more recent charges were for something more sinister. He was accused of running a "vast network" of underage girls for prostitution. He had pleaded not guilty but the 66-year-old died before the trial began. He is known to have socialized with Prince Andrew, President Donald Trump, and former President Bill Clinton, as per BBC.
"I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy," Donald Trump told New York magazine for a profile on Epstein, who was a financier, in 2002. "He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it - Jeffrey enjoys his social life."
60-year-old Andrew, the father of Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, first met Epstein in 1999, according to BBC. Andrew met him through Ghislaine Maxwell, who is also in prison for sex trafficking charges. Andrew said that he knew Maxwell, the daughter of the publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, since her university days.
The royal family member acknowledged that it was wrong for him to visit and stay at the financier's home in 2010 but he didn't regret the friendship. The prince also denies having intercourse with Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to have intercourse with the prince when she was 17 years old.
The depth of their friendship is unknown but their "paths crossed several times." The prince flew with the convicted sex offender on his private jet in February 1999, according to a log book seen by the Daily Mirror in 2015. They traveled to Epstein's private island, Little St James in the US Virgin Islands. According to Daily Mail, Epstein had flown to the Virgin Island to meet Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. The couple had divorced in 1996.
In June 2000, Epstein and Maxwell attended a star-studded party hosted by the Queen. They were present at the Dance of the Decades event, where more than 600 guests went to the Windsor Castle. The event was meant for celebrating four royal birthdays including Prince Andrew's 40th. Prince Andrew told BBC that the financier was there at his invitation and also as Maxwell's "plus one".
Andrew was reportedly seen accompanying Maxwell to many parties in the UK and the US that year. Epstein had described her as his best friend, writes BBC. In December 2000, Andrew threw a surprise birthday party at Sandringham, the Queen's estate in Norfolk, and Epstein was one of the guests. Andrew said in the interview that it was a "straightforward shooting weekend."
In August 2006, the prince invited Epstein for Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday even though the American man had been charged with soliciting prostitution from a minor the same year, according to Cosmopolitan. The prince said that back then he didn't know about it. In December 2010, after Epstein got out of prison having served 13 months, Prince Andrew met him at Central Park.
He claims he told the financier, "Look, because of what has happened, I don’t think it is appropriate that we should remain in contact." However, he went on to stay at Epstein's home later because it was just a "convenient place to stay."
Unsealed Epstein documents contain allegations against Epstein, Andrew, and Maxwell from Giuffre. The alleged victim said that Maxwell defamed her and that Epstein coerced her into sleeping with Andrew. Another victim of Epstein has allegations against him, Maxwell, and the prince. Joanna Sjoberg accused Maxwell of bringing her to Epstein. In her deposition testimony, she described allegations involving Prince Andrew, reported The Guardian.
"Ms. Sjoberg also testified about sexual acts that occurred with her, Prince Andrew, and Ms. Giuffre, when she and [Maxwell] were staying at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion," Giuffre’s lawyers said in the document, which was filed in January 2017.
Prince Andrew is reportedly not cooperating with the investigation against Epstein and Maxwell. However, he has stepped down from royal duties for the "foreseeable future."