Britain’s Prince Andrew appears to have sought help from disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend in dealing with claims by a woman who said she was forced to have sex with him, leaked emails say.
The BBC said in its Panorama programme broadcast on Monday that it had uncovered a message sent in 2015 by Andrew, the Duke of York, to Ghislaine Maxwell.
The duke is quoted as writing: “Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.”
She replied “have some info – call me when you have a moment”, the BBC investigation found.
The BBC broadcast an interview with Virginia Giuffre, maiden name Roberts, who says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with the duke three times.
The interview was recorded before Andrew’s own interview with the broadcaster, which prompted him to stand down from public duties after he refused to apologise for his friendship with Epstein, a convicted sex offender who killed himself in jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Ms Giuffre says one of the times she was forced to sleep with Andrew was at Ms Maxwell’s home in central London.
She said she handed a photograph to the FBI in 2011 of herself standing next to Andrew with his arm around her at Ms Maxwell’s house.
The duke has said he does not remember the photo being taken or meeting Ms Giuffre. He said he has been unable to establish its authenticity.
When questioned about inconsistencies in her story, Ms Giuffre admitted to having a “foggy memory” over dates and places but implored the British public to believe her.
“I might be wrong on dates, I might be wrong on places sometimes, but one thing I can tell you is you never forget the face of someone who has heaved over you.”
“I implore the people in the UK to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK," she also said.
“This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guy’s royalty.”
Andrew denies having sex with Ms Giuffre.
He issued a statement after his own BBC interview saying he “unequivocally regrets” his “ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein” and “deeply sympathises with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure”.