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UK media: Prince Andrew's sex claims rebuttal a PR disaster

By JONATHAN POWELL | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-11-18 07:55

Prince Andrew says in a BBC interview broadcasted on Saturday that he doesn't remember a woman who has accused him of sexually exploiting her in encounters arranged by Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has made similar denials for years but came under new pressure following Epstein's arrest and suicide last summer. [SANG TAN/AP]

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has spoken about his relationship with convicted sex off ender Jeffrey Epstein and other allegations, in a BBC television interview that has drawn accusations of arrogance from viewers.

In an interview with Emily Maitlis for BBC's Newsnight he was grilled about his relationship with the disgraced 66-year-old United States financier, who committed suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Referring to Epstein, who was facing charges of abusing dozens of underage girls, the prince said:"Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes."

He spoke about allegations that have been subject to intense speculation, including reports he had sex with a 17-year-old girl at the home of Epstein's ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, in London in 2001.

The Duke of York"categorically" denied having sexual contact with Virginia Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, who claimed she was forced to have sex with him on three occasions when she was a teenager. The first occasion, she said, took place when she was aged 17.

"If you're a man it is a positive act to have sex with somebody," the prince said.

"You have to… take some sort of positive action and so therefore if you try to forget it's very difficult to try and forget a positive action and I do not remember anything."

Roberts has said that they partied at Tramp nightclub in London on March 10, 2001, before going back to Maxwell's Belgravia house where she claims she had sex with the prince.

The prince said: "I was with the children and I'd taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose four or five in the afternoon.

"And then because the duchess (Sarah Ferguson) was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other is there."

A photograph of the prince with his arm around Roberts's waist has been widely circulated, but the prince repeatedly said in his Newsnight interview he had "no recollection of that photograph ever being taken".

He said the picture appeared to have been taken upstairs in Maxwell's house, somewhere "I don't think I ever went".

He suggested that, as a member of the royal family, he was "not one to, as it were, hug, and public displays of affection are not something that I do".

Photographs of the prince in alleged embraces with various women swiftly emerged on platforms including Twitter.

The prince said that his association with the financier had hurt his family and his daughters, saying"it has been a constant sore in the family".

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