Prince Andrew confirmed on Wednesday that he will be “stepping down” from public royal duties just days after he spoke publicly about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” the 59-year-old said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
The third child of the Queen recently spoke to the BBC about accusations surrounding his own allegedly sexually predatory behaviour and the nature of his relationship with Epstein, the disgraced financier who died by suicide in August while in custody awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
A woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre has said Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew in 2001 when she was only 17.
Prince Andrew denies these allegations.
So when did Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein begin, and what are the allegations he is facing? Here is a timeline of their friendship.
How did Prince Andrew meet Epstein?
The prince said he met Epstein in 1999 through his friend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. At the time, Maxwell was dating Epstein and introduced the money manager to many well-connected people.
In speaking to the BBC, Prince Andrew confirmed Epstein was a guest at events he hosted, including a surprise party he threw Maxwell in 2000. The party was held at the Queen’s estate, Sandringham.
A few years after Prince Andrew and Epstein first met, then-teenage Giuffre said she was introduced to the royal in 2001.
Giuffre says she was 15 and working at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club when she was recruited by Maxwell and Epstein to perform sex acts. She claims she danced with Prince Andrew at a nightclub in London.
She then alleges she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew at Maxwell’s house in the London neighbourhood of Belgravia when she was 17.
Giuffre says she had sexual encounters with the prince in London, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands and that Epstein flew her around the world on private planes to have sex with other powerful men.
Prince Andrew has denied these allegations.
A photograph of the prince with his hand around the waist of a teenage Giuffre standing next to Maxwell has been widely circulated.
The prince told the BBC he has questioned the legitimacy of the photo and says he does not recall it being taken.
Epstein and Prince Andrew’s friendship
In speaking with the BBC, Prince Andrew said he saw Epstein when he went to the U.S. but met him no more than three times a year. He would visit or stay with him out of convenience, he said.
“Going to Jeffrey’s was not about partying,” Prince Andrew said.
The royal also confirmed to the BBC that he has been on Epstein’s private plane, stayed on his private island and stayed at his home in Palm Beach.
Prince Andrew maintains he did not know of Epstein’s sex-trafficking behaviour at the time.
“When I was staying at his houses in the United States, there was no indication,” he said.
In 2005, Epstein first came under investigation by Palm Beach police after they received reports he had sexually abused minors in his Florida mansion.
While he was being investigated by the Palm Beach police, Epstein and Maxwell were invited to Prince Andrew’s daughter Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday at Windsor Castle in 2006.
Prince Andrew told the BBC he was unaware of the allegations when he extended the invitations.
In 2008, Epstein reached a non-prosecution deal to secretly end a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed him behind bars for life.
According to court documents, Epstein had a Palm Beach home where underage girls were brought for what they were sometimes told were massage sessions, but which often turned into sexual encounters.
As part of his deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges, spent 13 months in jail, paid settlements to victims and registered as a sex offender.
What else is Prince Andrew accused of?
In 2011, Vanity Fair ran an article titled “The Trouble With Andrew,” which highlighted the prince’s friendship with Epstein and the allegations around his behaviour.
The magazine wrote that according to a sworn deposition by a former Epstein employee, Prince Andrew attended “naked pool parties and was treated to massages by a harem of adolescent girls.”
“At least three of the girls were questioned under oath about whether Andrew had had sexual contact with any of the masseuses,” Vanity Fair reported.
“One of them, Sarah Kellen, refused to answer, citing her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Another, Adriana Ross, was asked, ‘Has Prince Andrew ever been involved with underage minor females to your knowledge?’ She reportedly replied, ‘I refuse to answer.'”
Prince Andrew denied attending naked pool parties to Vanity Fair. He also told the outlet he was unaware of such parties altogether.
The royal has also been accused of receiving a foot massage from a young woman in Epstein’s house.
Allegations have dogged Prince Andrew for years
Prince Andrew’s sex abuse allegations resurfaced in 2015 when Giuffre filed a claim alleging she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell to powerful politicians, lawyers, academics and government leaders when she was underage, the Miami Herald reported.
Prince Andrew has continued to deny the allegations he had sex with a minor and maintains he did not know about Epstein’s alleged pedophile ring.
Giuffre has since called out the prince, saying he “knows exactly what he’s done.”
In his BBC interview, Prince Andrew said he stayed at Epstein’s house out of convenience and maintained he did not know what was going on in the financier’s private life.
He addressed the photographs that showed him and Epstein walking outdoors together in 2010 and told the BBC he was meeting with Epstein to end their friendship.
“I took the judgement call that because this was serious and I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken’s way of doing it, I had to go and see him and talk to him,” he said.
The prince also maintained during his interview that he and Epstein were not “that close.”
— With files from the Associated Press
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