PRINCE Andrew has questioned whether the photograph showing him with his arm around his accuser Virginia Roberts could have been doctored.
The Duke of York said he had “no recollection” of the photograph, but said he would not have put his arm around her because hugs and public displays of affection “are not something that I do” as a member of the Royal Family. The photograph, showing Ms Giuffre in a pink halter neck top, next to Prince Andrew with his arm on her waist, is said to have been taken in 2001.
Andrew was speaking out on claims he had sex with Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) three times, including when she was 17 – a minor in Florida law.
The prince strongly denies claims and said he and his family have suffered a “constant gnaw” after the allegations first emerged.
In an extended interview with BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, Prince Andrew said: I think it’s…from the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph. So it’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.
That’s me but whether that’s my hand or whether that’s the position I…but I don’t…I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken.”
He added: “Listen, I don’t remember, I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken. I don’t remember going upstairs in the house because that photograph was taken upstairs and I am not entirely convinced that…I mean that is…that is what I would describe as me in that…in that picture but I can’t…we can’t be certain as to whether or not that’s my hand on her whatever it is, left…left side.”
Ms Maitlis asked: “So why would somebody have put in another hand? You think it is next to her in the photo.”
Prince Andrew questions if Virginia Roberts photo is FAKE as he doesn’t hug as a royal (Image BBC)
Emily Maitlis asked Prince Andrew why he decided to stay in Epstein’s house (Image: BBC)
Prince Andrew replied: “Oh it’s definitely me, I mean that’s a picture of me, it’s not a picture of…I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because when I would out to…when I go out in London, I wear a suit and a tie.
“That’s what I would describe as…those are my travelling clothes if I’m going to go…if I’m going overseas. There’s a…I’ve got plenty of photographs of me dressed in those sorts of…that sort of kit but not there.”
When asked to clarify whether he thought the image was fake, Andrew replied: “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken.”
Ms Maitlis asked if he had any recollection of putting his hand on Ms Giuffre’s waist on any occasion, to which he replied: “I’m terribly sorry but if I, as a member of the royal family, and I have a photograph taken and I take very, very few photographs, I am not one to, as it were, hug and public displays of affection are not something that I do.
“So that’s the best explanation I can give you and I’m afraid to say that I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested.”
Prince Andrew said it took six months to do the interview with Emily Maitlis (Image: BBC)
Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with his rich and famous friends.
She claims to have been introduced to the prince in a nightclub named Tramps, where he “sweated profusely”.
But during the interview, the Duke of York said he had in fact been home with his children on the evening he allegedly had sex with Ms Giuffre, after taking Princess Beatrice to a birthday party at Pizza Express in Woking that afternoon.
He said: “No, I’ve no recollection of ever meeting her, I’m almost, in fact I’m convinced that I was never in Tramps with her. There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramps. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there.
“On that particular day that we now understand is the date which is the 10th of March, I was at home, I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
“And then because the Duchess was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there. I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so therefore I was at home.”
Prince Andrew during the BBC interview (Image: BBC)
Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis during the BBC interview (Image: BBC)
Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) leaving the United States Federal Courthouse in New York (Image: REX)
He said a medical condition he contracted during his time in the Falklands War meant he could not sweat.
He said: “There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time and that was…was it…yes, I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply…it was almost impossible for me to sweat.
“And it’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again. So I’m afraid to say that there’s a medical condition that says that I didn’t do it so therefore…”
Mrs Giuffre’s allegations about the duke were struck from the US court record in 2015 after a judge branded them “immaterial and impertinent”.
Buckingham Palace said previously: “Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
It added: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
A US Federal Appeals Court has warned that allegations in court papers should not be understood as firm findings or as “some sort of marker of reliability” because New York law grants absolute immunity from liability for defamation.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK