Speaking out for the first time since the billionaire sex offender died in his prison cell in August as he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges, the Duke of York expressed gratitude for the connections he had made through the relationship.
“The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful,” he told BBC‘s Newsnight in a programme aired on Saturday evening.
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The prince claimed his relationship had primarily been with Mr Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell. he added: “And the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.
“He himself [and I] were not, as it were, as close as you might think – we weren’t that close. So therefore I mean yes I would go and stay in his house but that was because of his girlfriend, not because of him.”
He went on to claim he could not have slept with his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, because he had taken his daughter to Pizza Express in Woking on the night he was alleged to have slept with the then-17-year-old.
Ms Giuffre is one of 16 women who say they were abused by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
She has previously claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince, alleging she went back to a house in Belgravia with the duke after dancing in the club and had sex with him on March 10, 2001.
“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.