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Prince Andrew denies sex with 17-year-old because he was ‘at Pizza Express’ on night in question

Prince Andrew denies sex with 17-year-old because he was ‘at Pizza Express’ on night in question

Prince Andrew has claimed he could not have had sex with a 17-year-old girl on the night he is accused of doing so – because he had taken his daughter to Pizza Express in Woking.

Giving an unprecedented television interview to address claims surrounding his friendship with billionaire sex offender Jeffery Epstein, the Duke of York denied having sex with Virginia Giuffre in 2001.

Ms Giuffre has previously claimed she was forced to sleep with Andrew, alleging she went back to a house in Belgravia with the duke after dancing with him in a club.

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She is one of 16 women who say they were abused by paedophile Epstein, who died in his jail cell in August as he awaited sex-trafficking charges.

He maintained a relationship with the prince even after his conviction for soliciting sex from a minor in 2007.

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“On that particular day, that we now understand is the date which is the 10th of March, I was at home,” the duke said.

“I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose, sort of, four or five in the afternoon.

“And then because the duchess [of York] was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away, the other one is there.”

When asked why he remembered the specific trip to the restaurant, he replied: “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.

Jeffrey Epstein died in his prison cell on 10 August (-)

“I’ve never been … I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly.

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“As soon as somebody reminded me of it, I went: ‘Oh yes, I remember that’.”

He added that Ms Giuffre’s description of him “profusely sweating” was false because, at the time, he had a medical condition that meant he could not sweat.

He said: “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.”​

Ms Giuffre had previously alleged that Epstein “recruited” her while she was working in the locker room at Mar-a-Lago when she was 15, coercing her into sexual activity for payments.

“The first time in London, I was so young,” she told NBC in September of her first alleged encounter with the duke. 

Referring to Ghilsaine Maxwell, the notorious friend of Epstein who is accused of being an accomplice in the now-deceased paedophile’s sex trafficking, she added: “Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and she said, ‘You’re gonna meet a prince today’. I didn’t know at that point that I was going to be trafficked to that prince.”

She alleges she was forced to have sexual relations with Andrew in New York and London, as well as on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein where an orgy took place when she was 18.

The palace has repeatedly denied any allegations against the duke in relation to Ms Giuffre, saying that “it is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship” with her, adding that “any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation”.

The Duke of York with his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre when she was around 17-years-old. (Virginia Roberts Giuffre)

However, his rebuttals on the - mark his first comments on his relationship with the deceased financier in the public sphere following months of silence on the allegations against him.

The duke went on to question the validity of a photograph with his arm around Ms Giuffre in London – saying it was not possible to prove if the image had, or had not, been faked.

He said: ”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.”

He added: ”Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken.”

Andrew first met Epstein in 1999 when he was introduced to her through his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Following their encounter he welcomed Epstein to some of the most prestigious locations in royal life – including Windsor palace, the Queen’s Balmoral retreat and the royal estate in Sandringham.

They were also seen together at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Among the encounters with Epstein interrogated by Newsnight host Emily Maitlis was a meeting in New York in 2010 after the financier was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor – a crime for which he had accepted a plea deal.

A photo at the time of the pair walking through the city’s Central Park had been enough to cast doubt over the Duke of York’s role as a trade envoy for the UK – a position he quit a year later.

However years on from the meeting footage emerged of the prince inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion during the same year – part of a four day trip Prince Andrew had taken to the sex offender’s house.

Defending the journey, Prince Andrew said he had travelled to the US to tell Epstein in person that it would be inappropriate for them to spend time together in the future.

The Prince added that he had consulted a number of people on whether the trip was a good idea – and that he had stayed in the house primarily because he was “doing a number of other things” while in the city.

He said: “It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.

“But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.”

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