Queen Elizabeth’s Children Guard Coffin In Solemn Vigil

Britain’s King Charles III, Britain’s Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Britain’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex mount a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 16, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday.  (Photo by Daniel LEAL / POOL / AFP)

 

 

King Charles III and his three siblings stood guard around their mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Friday in solemn vigil honouring Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

The new king, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward mounted the guard in silence around her flag-shrouded casket as members of the public, who had queued for hours, continued to file past.

The “Vigil of the Princes”, with the royals all in ceremonial naval uniform, formed an emotionally-charged moment in London’s mediaeval Westminster Hall, where Queen Elizabeth’s coffin is lying in state ahead of Monday’s funeral.

Her children stood with their heads bowed for 12 minutes as other members of the royal family including Queen Consort Camilla watched on and the public paid their own last respects.

King Charles and his siblings mounted a similar vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh before the coffin was flown to London.

The Vigil of the Princes first took place in Westminster Hall in 1936 for king George V. His four sons, including Queen Elizabeth’s father, stood guard.

Prince William and his brother Prince Harry will lead the queen’s grandchildren in a similar vigil on Saturday evening.

Members of the public have been facing waits of up to 24 hours to file past the coffin.

– Speech in Welsh –
Large crowds cheered King Charles and chanted “God Save the King” in the Welsh capital Cardiff earlier on Friday, as the new monarch shook hands with well-wishers following a multi-faith service in Llandaff Cathedral, and at Cardiff Castle.

It was the last of his visits to the United Kingdom’s four constituent nations following the death of Queen Elizabeth on September 8, at the age of 96.

Charles met in private with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, an avowed republican.

In a speech at the Welsh Parliament, which alternated between English and Welsh, the king vowed to follow the “selfless example” of his mother.

Before ascending to the throne on September 8, Charles, 73, had been the Prince of Wales since 1958, a title bestowed on the heir apparent.

He made his eldest child William the new Prince of Wales on September 9.

Sharon Driscoll was in floods of tears after meeting King Charles at Cardiff Castle.

“It was very emotional, very personal, the eye contact meant a lot in view of how long we’ve waited,” the 48-year-old nurse said.

“I shook his hand and said ‘I’m really sorry that your mum passed away’. He said ‘thank you very much, it means a lot’,” she said.

A handful of people used the occasion to protest against Britain’s system of constitutional monarchy.

Outside Cardiff Castle, a few demonstrators held up banners declaring “Abolish the monarchy”, “Citizen not subject” and “Democracy now”.

– Religious vow –
Back at Buckingham Palace in London, King Charles reached out to Britain’s various faith communities and pledged to defend freedom of worship under his reign.

On his accession to the throne, Charles became the titular head of the Church of England as its supreme governor, which comes with the title Defender of the Faith.

At his accession, he also pledged on oath to maintain and preserve the Protestant faith in Scotland.

He told assembled faith leaders that he was a “committed Anglican Christian” — but believed that as sovereign it was his “duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practise”.

In 1994, he said he would rather see his future role as a defender of faith, rather than of the faith, but clarified in 2015 that the historic title was compatible with being a protector of freedom to follow other faiths.

– Beckham queues up –
Elizabeth’s death has triggered an outpouring of emotion, with tens of thousands from all backgrounds and many nations queueing for hours, often through the night, to pay their respects in Westminster Hall.

The queue was paused for nearly an hour on Friday after a park at the end of the line along the River Thames reached capacity, the government said.

Then officials said just after 1600 GMT that the “expected queuing time is over 24 hours” — up from 14 hours for those at the end of the queue.

They also warned of cold overnight temperatures and another pause if the line reached capacity.

David Beckham, the former England football captain, queued from 2:00am to pay his last respects.

Beckham, 47, wearing a dark suit and tie, stood with his hands behind his back, bowed his head towards the catafalque, then bit his lip before leaving Westminster Hall.

“It’s very emotional, and the silence and the feeling in the room is very hard to explain,” he told reporters afterwards.

“We’re all there to say thanks to Her Majesty for being kind, for being caring, for being reassuring throughout the years.

“The legacy that she has left is incredible.”

– ‘Unimaginable void’ –
Also in the queue was Peter Stratford, 70, a former firefighter who was one of the first on the scene at a huge fire in 1992 at Windsor Castle, where the queen will be buried on Monday.

“My ankles are killing me, but it’s a small sacrifice to make,” he told AFP after waiting in line for eight hours.

“I’ve been tearful, emotional… I wouldn’t have missed it.”

Mourners marked their moment in front of the coffin in various ways, from bows or curtsies to the sign of the cross or by simply removing their hats, an AFP reporter inside observed Friday.

Some wiped away tears. Others brought infants in pushchairs. Old soldiers stopped and gave one last salute to their former commander-in-chief.

In a statement, the queen’s youngest son Edward said her passing had left an “unimaginable void”.

“We have been overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect to such a very special and unique person who was always there for us,” he said.

“And now, we are there for her, united in grief. Thank you for your support. You have no idea how much it means.”

– Row with China –
At Westminster Abbey on Monday, the queen will be honoured with Britain’s first state funeral in nearly six decades, with more than 2,000 guests expected.

After the televised service, the coffin will be transferred by royal hearse to Windsor Castle, west of London, for a private burial in which the queen will be laid to rest alongside her late husband Prince Philip, her parents and her sister.

Police are mounting Britain’s biggest-ever security operation for the funeral, as global dignitaries jet in.

An official delegation from China has been banned from attending the lying-in-state following an intervention by House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, parliamentary sources said.

It comes after China sanctioned several British lawmakers over their criticism of its human rights record.

“The British side should uphold both diplomatic courtesy and gracious hospitality,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters in Beijing.

Prince Andrew Won’t Wear Military Uniform At Queen’s Funeral

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 19, 2020 Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, arrives to attend a church service at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England. Britain’s Prince Andrew was sued in a New York court on August 9, 2021 for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Prince Andrew will not wear a military uniform, unlike other senior British royals, at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, underlining his continuing estrangement from the family.

Andrew was stripped of his “His Royal Highness” and honorary military titles at the start of the year amid ongoing fallout from a sex assault scandal.

The 62-year-old re-appeared in public this weekend having been effectively banished from royal life over allegations he had sex with a victim of American child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

He was photographed being driven to the queen’s Balmoral estate on Thursday, the day of her death, and appeared alongside other grieving senior royals on Saturday and Sunday in Scotland.


READ ALSO: Britons Get First Chance To View Queen Elizabeth II’s Coffin


While fellow family members will wear uniform for five separate commemorative events for the queen, including her state funeral next Monday, Andrew will only don military colours for a final vigil in Westminster Hall, Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency said.

Andrew was honorary colonel of the Grenadier Guards, whose soldiers are part of the Household Division that guard Buckingham Palace in their distinctive bearskin hats and red tunics.

Often called the queen’s “favourite son”, he was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 2001 who claimed she was delivered to him by Epstein.

Andrew, who denied the allegations, settled a US civil lawsuit over the allegations in February for an undisclosed sum.

King Charles III is expected to make his younger brother’s royal exile permanent, experts say.

It is unclear if Prince Harry — who is also a non-working royal after he moved to the United States in early 2020 — will wear military dress to royal events this week and next.

Harry is a former captain in the British Army who served in Afghanistan.

He was the last senior royal to see frontline service in a conflict zone since Andrew, who flew Royal Navy helicopters in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina.

No Harry, Meghan Or Andrew On Queen’s Jubilee Balcony

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II reacts during an audience with Switzerland’s President Ignazio Cassis (unseen) at Windsor Castle, west of London on April 28, 2022. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew, her grandson Harry and his wife Meghan will not join her on the Buckingham Palace balcony for this year’s Trooping the Colour, royal officials said on Friday.

Instead, the 96-year-old monarch has decided to limit numbers for the traditional set-piece appearance on her official birthday celebration to working royals only.

“Only those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the queen” will join her on June 2, a spokesman said.

The decision was taken “after careful consideration”, he added.

Speculation had mounted that all three could be at the event, which kicks off four days of public celebrations for the queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Andrew, 62, in March made his first public appearence since settling a US civil claim for sexual assault, and after public outrage at his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The former Royal Navy helicopter pilot provided his mother, who has been in ill health and had difficulty walking and standing, with a steadying arm at a memorial service to her late husband, Prince Philip.

His prominent role at the televised Westminster Abbey event was seen as a sign that his mother believed he still has a part to play at family occasions.

But his appearance caused controversy — and dominated coverage of the memorial service — and Friday’s announcement may be seen as a sign the palace does not want a repeat.

Andrew has strenuously denied the assault claims and remains stripped of his honorary military titles and charities, giving him no official royal role.

– Senior royals –
Speculation that Harry would return from his self-imposed exile in California has also increased after he visited his grandmother at her Windsor Castle home last month.

The 37-year-old former British Army captain is the second son of her eldest son and heir Prince Charles, and his first wife, Princess Diana.

He quit royal life in March last year, moving to the United States with his wife Meghan, where both have publicly complained about life in Britain’s most famous family.

The couple, who still use their official titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are now involved in charitable and philanthropic work.

Denying them a place on the balcony will likely be seen as the queen refusing to accept a “half-in, half-out” approach to royal duties.

There was no immediate word on whether all three would be involved in the other public events to mark the queen’s record-breaking 70 years on the throne.

But a spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan indicated they would be there with their children Archie, who turned three on Friday, and Lilibet, who was born in June last year and has yet to meet her great-grandmother.

The couple were “excited and honoured to attend the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this June with their children”, she added.

The decision means the queen will be joined on the balcony for the end of the military pageant and ceremonial fly-past by senior royals led by Charles and his second wife, Camilla.

Harry’s older brother Prince William and his wife Kate will be there, with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, will be accompanied by his wife, Sophie, and their children Louise and James.

Her only daughter, Princess Anne, will also be on the balcony. The queen has allowed her second husband, Tim Laurence, even though he is not a working royal.

The palace spokesman said the queen recognised him as a “frequent attendee and support for the Princess Royal (Anne) on official engagements”.

Prince Andrew Gives Up Military Titles, Royal Patronages

In this file photo taken on September 7, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bruges. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, Prince Andrew, was on Thursday effectively stripped of his position in royal life, in a dramatic move as he faces a US civil case for sexual assault.

British media quoted an unnamed royal source as saying he would no longer use the “His Royal Highness” (HRH) title, which designates senior members of the royal family, in any capacity.

The move came after Buckingham Palace announced that he had given up his honorary military titles and charitable roles as the US case looms.

READ ALSO: [COVID-19] UK’s Johnson Cancels Trip After Lockdown Apology

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” a statement read.

A New York judge on Wednesday dismissed an attempt by Andrew’s lawyers to have the case brought by Virginia Giuffre thrown out.

Giuffre, 38, accuses Andrew — often called the Queen’s “favourite son” — of sexually assaulting her in 2001 when she was 17, claiming she was delivered to him by Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew, who strenuously denies the allegation, was forced to quit public life after a calamitous 2019 interview in which he claimed to have no memory of meeting Giuffre and defended his friendship with convicted paedophile Epstein, who was found hanged in prison in 2019.

Public outrage at the time saw several charities and associations distance themselves from him and he has rarely been since in public since.

On Thursday, he was seen being driven from his house near Windsor Castle, west of London, an AFP photographer said.

Veteran’s Anger 

More than 150 Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army veterans wrote to the Queen, calling on her to strip Andrew of his ranks and titles in the armed forces.

The 95-year-old head of state is the commander-in-chief of the army, navy and air force.

“Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post,” they wrote in a joint letter made public by the anti-monarchy pressure group Republic.

“Officers of the British armed forces must adhere to the very highest standards of probity, honesty and honourable conduct.

“These are standards which Prince Andrew has fallen well short of,” they said, adding that he had “brought the services he is associated with into disrepute”.

Senior members of the British royal family have typically been appointed as honorary heads of military units, with the Queen’s approval.

Andrew was honorary colonel of the Grenadier Guards, whose soldiers guard Buckingham Palace in their distinctive bearskin hats and red tunics.

Royal patronages are associations with charities and other organisations.

‘Rabbit Running Scared’ 


Britain’s Prince Andrew is driven from his house near Windsor Castle in Berkshire on January 13, 2022. Justin TALLIS / AFP

 

For a monarchy beset by crises, 2022 was meant to celebrate Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, with parades, pageants and public holidays.

But Andrew’s legal woes threaten more pain for the ageing monarch, after her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s shock move to the United States, from where they criticised royal life, including accusing it of racism.

Andrew will likely have to respond to Giuffre’s accusations from Britain in a recorded deposition unless he successfully appeals or reaches a settlement.

One of Giuffre’s lawyers, David Boies, told the BBC on Wednesday his client was not ruling out a deal, but a financial settlement would not be enough.

“It’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims,” he said.

Royal historian Anna Whitelock said there were “no good options” for Andrew. A financial agreement would also raise questions about where the money came from, she told AFP.

According to the British media, he recently settled a dispute over a £6.6 million ($9 million, 7.9 million) debt, which will allow him to sell a Swiss chalet he bought in 2014 for a reported £18 million.

The BBC’s former royal correspondent, Jennie Bond said Andrew has recently “given the impression of a rabbit running scared of hiding behind his mother’s tartan skirts… trying to avoid the court papers being served on him”.

In 2002, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year saw the death of her younger sister, Princess Margaret, then their mother, also called queen Elizabeth.

“And now this is another jubilee in which something so distasteful is hanging over the whole of the next few months,” she told Sky News.

“But how embarrassing for a 95-year-old woman to have to challenge her 61-year-old son about his allegations of sexual misconduct.”

AFP

Prince Andrew Served With Papers In US Sexual Assault Lawsuit

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019 Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrives for the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. – Britain’s Prince Andrew was sued in a New York court on August 9, 2021 for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

 

 

Britain’s Prince Andrew has been served legal papers in a US lawsuit brought by a woman who says he sexually abused her when she was a teenager, a court filing showed Friday.

The complaint was delivered to the royal’s home in Windsor, England, on August 27, according to an affidavit filed in the Southern District of New York.

Virginia Giuffre says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein who killed himself in a New York prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking minors.

Giuffre sued Andrew last month, alleging he sexually abused her at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell more than 20 years ago, when she was under 18.

Giuffre also claims Andrew abused her at Epstein’s New York mansion and on Little St. James, Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

Andrew, 61, has vehemently denied claims he had sex with Giuffre, and said he has no recollection of meeting her, but the allegations have damaged the British royal family.

An agent for Giuffre said in the affidavit that he handed the papers to a police officer at the main gates of Andrew’s property and did not meet Queen Elizabeth II’s second son.

A spokesperson for Andrew refused to comment when asked to by AFP.

Andrew, a divorced father of two and former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina, was forced to step back from frontline royal duties in late 2019.

That followed a furore at a rare television interview he gave to the BBC, in which he defended his friendship with Epstein, a multi-million-dollar hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities.

Andrew — who as a young man was considered one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors and was dubbed “Randy Andy” in the tabloid press — later issued a statement in which he said he “unequivocally” regretted his “ill-judged association” with Epstein.

He has made few public appearances since, although joined other senior royals for the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in April.

Maxwell pleaded not guilty in April to charges of recruiting underage girls for Epstein. She is due to go on trial on November 29.

Giuffre sued Andrew under the Child Victims Act as she was 17 at the time. The first hearing in the case is set for Monday.

UK Police To Review Prince Andrew’s Sexual Abuse Allegations

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 19, 2020 Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, arrives to attend a church service at St Mary the Virgin Church in Hillington, Norfolk, eastern England. Britain’s Prince Andrew was sued in a New York court on August 9, 2021 for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

 

Britain’s most senior police officer on Thursday said detectives will re-examine allegations against Prince Andrew due to the US civil suit against him for alleged sexual abuse.

Cressida Dick, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, said the force would review the claims, after previously opting not to open an investigation.

Virginia Giuffre on Monday filed a claim in New York, alleging the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein regularly abused her and lent her out to “powerful men” for sex.

She alleged the Duke of York sexually abused her at the London home of the convicted sex offender’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell when she was under 18 over 20 years ago.

Dick told LBC radio: “As a result of what is going on, I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material. No one is above the law.

“We will of course again review our position.”

Andrew — Queen Elizabeth II’s second son — has yet to publicly comment on the lawsuit but has previously strongly denied having sex with Giuffre or even meeting her.

Dick explained that the police had decided not to open an investigation into the allegations involving Epstein, who killed himself in jail in 2019.

“We have had more than one allegation that is connected with Mr Epstein and we have reviewed those, assessed those and we have not opened an investigation.

“I am clear that that was — and it’s been reviewed twice — the right decision,” she added.

British police were “of course open to working with authorities from overseas, we will give them every assistance if they ask us for anything”, she added.

The longstanding allegations threaten to damage the British royal family, the country’s most famous institution headed by the Queen, who is now aged 95.

The Times on Thursday quoted an unnamed source close to Andrew’s brother, Prince Charles, as saying the heir to the throne views it as impossible for Andrew ever to return to public life because the accusation “raises its head with hideous regularity”.

Andrew, 61, a divorced father of two and a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who fought in the 1982 Falklands War, was forced to step back from frontline royal duties in late 2019 after defending his friendship with Epstein on TV.

The prince travelled this week to the Queen’s Balmoral residence in northeast Scotland shortly after the US claim was filed, accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.

Prince Andrew Sued Over Alleged Sex Abuse

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019 Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrives for the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. – Britain’s Prince Andrew was sued in a New York court on August 9, 2021 for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

 

 

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, Prince Andrew, was sued in a New York court on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The filing at the US district court in Manhattan said Virginia Giuffre was the plaintiff in the case against the defendant, named as “Prince Andrew, Duke of York.”

Giuffre alleged in the filing that she “was regularly abused by Epstein and was lent out by Epstein to other powerful men for sexual purposes.

“One such powerful man… was the Defendant, Prince Andrew.”

According to the complaint, Giuffre said Andrew sexually abused her at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell more than 20 years ago, when she was under 18.

“Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced (the) Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will,” it said.

Andrew, 61, has vehemently denied claims he had sex with Giuffre, and said he has no recollection of meeting her, but the allegations threaten to damage the British royal family.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the lawsuit and a public relations company representing Andrew e-mailed a “no comment” response to AFP on Tuesday.

The allegations have dogged the British monarchy for years.

The centuries-old institution was also rocked in March by a US television interview in March involving the 95-year-old Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan.

The couple, who moved to California last year, raised allegations of racism and bullying in Britain’s most famous family, prompting denials from the palace and promises of an inquiry.

– Dropped from royal duties –
Andrew, a divorced father of two and former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina, was forced to step back from frontline royal duties in late 2019.

That followed a furore at a rare television interview he gave to the BBC, in which he defended his friendship with Epstein, a multi-million-dollar hedge fund manager.

Andrew — who as a young man was considered one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors and was dubbed “Randy Andy” in the tabloid press — later issued a statement in which he said he “unequivocally” regretted his “ill-judged association” with Epstein.

But he has made few public appearances since, although joined other senior royals for the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in April.

Epstein, who befriended celebrities including former president Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors.

Giuffre, now 38, also claims Andrew abused her at Epstein’s New York mansion and on Little St. James, Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

She is suing Andrew under the Child Victims Act as she was 17 at the time.

The court papers included a photograph alleged to show Andrew and Giuffre at Maxwell’s London home before one incident of sexual abuse.

Maxwell in April pleaded not guilty in court to charges of recruiting underage girls for Epstein.

She allegedly befriended girls with shopping and movie theater outings, and later coaxed them into giving Epstein nude massages during which he would engage in sex acts.

Giuffre, who has previously made her claims in television interviews, is suing Andrew for “exemplary, and punitive damages.”

“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions,” she said in a media statement.

“I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates.”

Epstein: Prince Andrew Yet To Grant FBI’s Request For Interview – US Prosecutor

FILES) Britain’s Prince Andrew has said on August 18, 2019 he was “appalled” by allegations of sexual abuse surrounding Jeffrey Epstein after a video was released purporting to show him at the home of the convicted paedophile in 2010.  LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Prince Andrew has provided “zero cooperation” regarding late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and has yet to respond to an FBI request for an interview, a US prosecutor said Monday.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein and said in November he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required.”

But New York attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is leading an investigation into possible co-conspirators of Epstein’s, said his office and the FBI had not heard from Andrew despite his offer to cooperate.

“To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,” Berman told reporters during a news conference outside Epstein’s former New York home where Andrew has admitted staying at in the past.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to request for comment when contacted by AFP.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, was forced to step back from royal duties after he faced outrage over an interview with the BBC late last year in which he defended his friendship with disgraced US financier Epstein.

Epstein, 66 committed suicide in a New York jail last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

He was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who befriended countless celebrities over the years, including US President Donald Trump.

Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

He denied the charges but was facing up to 45 years in jail if found guilty. His death also deprived countless alleged victims of justice.

Dozens of women who say they were abused by Epstein have sued his estate and prosecutors have pledged to pursue any accomplices.

“Jeffrey Epstein couldn’t have done what he did without the assistance of others and I can assure you that our investigation is moving forward,” Berman said Monday.

Epstein’s death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he was murdered to stop him revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.

Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.

Prince Andrew’s Accuser Slams ‘Ridiculous Excuses’

Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

An American woman who claims she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew criticised the “ridiculous excuses” from the royal’s side in an interview aired on Monday.

The interview was recorded before Andrew’s own BBC interview, which prompted him to stand down from public duties because of a backlash at his defence of his friendship with Epstein.

But Virginia Giuffre called on the British public to support her as she dismissed claims initially made by the prince’s backers that a photograph apparently showing him with his arm around her might not be genuine.

“The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored,” she told the BBC’s Panorama programme.

“I’m calling BS (bullshit) on this. He knows what happened, I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth,” she said.

“It’s a real photo. I’ve given it to the FBI for their investigation.”

Andrew himself doubted the authenticity of the photograph during his badly received interview, saying “nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored.”

Giuffre has alleged she was trafficked to have sex with friends of Epstein when she was 17. Epstein was found dead in a New York prison in August awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

She described how Epstein preyed on her once he knew she came from a vulnerable background, having already suffered sexual abuse.

The financier initially lured her with an offer of a job as a masseuse, but soon began abusing her, according to Giuffre.

She accused Epstein of bringing her to London in 2001, where she was introduced to Andrew and Epstein’s socialite girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

The prince asked her for a dance at a nightclub, she recalled, telling Panorama he was “the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life”.

“His sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere,” she added.

“I was just like grossed out from it but I knew I had to keep him happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would have expected from me.”

 ‘Ill-judged’ friendship 

The prince told the BBC he was unable to sweat at the time due to a medical condition he developed after serving as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War in 1982.

After the nightclub, Giuffre — then known as Roberts — said that Maxwell told her: “I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that just made me sick.”

She and Queen Elizabeth II’s second son later had sex at Maxwell’s house in central London, she alleged.

“It was disgusting,” she said. “He said ‘thanks’ and walked out.”

Andrew, 59, said he did not remember meeting Giuffre and that he “absolutely and categorically” did not have sex with her.

But an email discovered by Panorama appeared to show Andrew writing to Maxwell in 2015 with “specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts”.

She replied “have some info — call me when you have a moment”, according to the BBC investigation.

Giuffre admitted to having a “foggy memory” over dates and places when she was asked about inconsistencies in her story.

“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.”

She added: “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.

“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.”

Panorama reported that Andrew could be served with subpoenas if he returns to the US, with lawyers for five of Epstein’s victims demanding that the prince testify in their court cases abut how he witnessed people being given massages.

After his BBC interview, Andrew issued a statement in which he said “I… unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein” and “deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure”.

A statement from Buckingham Palace said they “emphatically denied that The Duke of York (Andrew) had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.”

Panorama also interviewed another of Epstein’s victims, who made further allegations against Maxwell.

Sarah Ransome told the programme that she “controlled the girls… like the madam”.

AFP

Prince Andrew Urged To Cooperate With US Over Epstein

In this file photo taken on November 03, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York leaves after speaking at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

 

Prince Andrew was urged Thursday to speak to lawyers representing victims of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, after the royal announced he was quitting public life because of the scandal.

Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, 59, has faced days of outrage since a television interview in which he defended his friendship with the disgraced US financier.

Andrew denies claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl procured by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison in August while awaiting charges of trafficking minors.

As a growing number of organisations distanced themselves from the royal and his pet projects, he said he was cancelling public engagements because of the backlash.

He said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

US lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents five women allegedly assaulted by Epstein, told the BBC the royal should speak to everyone probing the allegations — including her.

“All of the staff who work for Prince Andrew should come and give information and evidence and the documents should be turned over — emails, texts, calendars, phone logs, travel logs — so we can get to the bottom of this,” she said.

She did not rule out approaching the prince directly to secure a sworn statement.

Later, lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents alleged victims and is Bloom’s mother, urged Andrew to speak to investigators “without delay.”

“The best way for him to begin to repair his damaged reputation would be to sit for an interview as soon as possible,” she told reporters in New York.

‘Much Worse To Come’?

Andrew’s announcement, which he said was approved by his mother and in which he belatedly expressed sympathy for Epstein’s victims, dominated British media for a fifth day.

Several newspapers said the former Royal Navy officer’s reputation was in tatters and speculated about whether he could ever return to formal royal duties.

Tabloid daily The Sun called the statement “a desperate attempt to fix the appalling failures of his TV interview over the Epstein scandal”.

“But if Andrew thinks this will draw a line under it all, he is delusional. His woes, we fear are just beginning,” it added in an editorial.

The Daily Mail said the claims, which have long cast a shadow over his duties, including as a special government trade representative, could do “serious damage” to the royal family.

“As it unravels, there may be much worse to come,” it added.

Andrew’s decision to step down was taken after “crisis talks” between the monarch herself and her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, several newspapers reported.

But as well as potentially having to be quizzed by US investigators, some cast doubt on some of Andrew’s claims.

They include that he had stayed at the residence of Britain’s consul-general to New York on one of the three occasions when he had allegedly had sex with his accuser.

Another is whether he actually met Epstein several years earlier than he claimed.

Torrid Year

The Epstein affair shows no sign of going away, as the BBC is expected to air more revelations from one of his victims in the coming days.

The scandal tops a torrid year for the royal family marked by strained relations with the media and an apparent lack of direction in terms of control of its public image.

In October, Andrew’s nephew Prince Harry was criticised for giving an interview in which he complained about media coverage of his wife, Meghan.

He then announced legal action against several tabloids for breach of privacy and phone-hacking, setting up a potentially explosive court confrontation.

The queen, now 93, described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” after heir to the throne Charles and Andrew separated from their respective wives, and her only daughter, Anne, got divorced.

Her favourite Windsor Castle residence was also partially destroyed by fire.

Commentators said the latest scandal could see a repeat, and that the withdrawal of a senior royal from public life had no precedent since king Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.

Britain’s Prince Andrew Under Fire Over Relationship With Epstein

Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, leaves following the Royal family Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, in the east of England, on December 25, 2012. LEON NEAL / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Andrew insisted on Saturday that “at no stage” during his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein did he “witness… any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest”.

The prince, Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, is under heavy fire over his relationship with the disgraced US financier, and admitted in a statement on Saturday that “it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010”.

“At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”

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Epstein was found dead in his cell earlier this month, and the prince was once more drawn into the story after a video was released purporting to show him at the criminal’s home in 2010.

Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring for prostitution a girl under the age of 18 and served 13 months in prison before being released on probation.

“I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know,” said Andrew.

“This is a difficult time for everyone involved and I am at a loss to be able to understand or explain Mr Epstein’s lifestyle,” he added.

The video was the latest in a string of revelations about Prince Andrew’s friendship with Epstein in British tabloids.

The Mail on Monday said the prince had hosted Epstein at Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II’s home in Scotland, in 1999 at a time when the monarch may have been in residence.

He also reportedly hosted Epstein at Sandringham, another royal residence in eastern England, a year later.

Epstein died in a federal jail in Manhattan on August 10 as he awaited trial charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

A coroner ruled that he committed suicide by hanging.

Over the years, the financier hobnobbed with politicians, socialites and celebrities, including Donald Trump before he was president, and Bill Clinton.

Virginia Giuffre — previously Virginia Roberts — one of Epstein’s alleged victims, has testified that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in London when she was 17. She said she had sex with him again in New York and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.

But the allegations were struck from the record by a US judge in 2015, who said the “lurid details” were not needed to decide a civil case concerning Epstein.

Buckingham Palace has repeatedly and strenuously denied the claims, calling them “false and without foundation”.

The prince said he deplored “the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour.”

AFP