Prince Andrew in a new interview addressed a widely circulated image of him in 2001 with a young Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims Jeffrey Epstein directed her to have sex with Andrew.
In the interview with the BBC that was broadcast Saturday, the prince said he has “no recollection” of ever meeting Giuffre and “absolutely no memory” of the photograph showing them together, with Epstein associate, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, in the background.
When asked by the BBC how he could explain the photo, Andrew said, “I can’t because I don’t…I have no…again I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken.”
Giuffre released the photograph in relation to a 2015 defamation suit she filed against Maxwell. Court documents related to the suit that were released in August revealed that Giuffre said in a 2016 deposition that Epstein and Maxwell directed her to provide sexual services for a number of powerful men.
Prince Andrew has not been charged with any crimes or named in any of the civil suits linked to Epstein.
When asked by the BBC in the interview if he thought the photograph was fake, Prince Andrew said that is unclear.
“Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken,” he said.
In the wide-ranging interview with the BBC that was held at the Buckingham Palace on Thursday, Prince Andrew addressed his relationship to Epstein, the late, disgraced financier, including how he got to know him.
The prince said the two became friends while he was transitioning out of the British Navy and working to establish himself in international business.
“In the Navy it’s a pretty isolated business because you’re out at sea the whole time,” he said. “I wanted to know more about what was going on in the international business world.”
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The Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has said previously that he first met Epstein in 1999 and had stayed at a number of his residences, but saw him infrequently, maybe once or twice a year.
“It was a convenient place to stay,” he told the BBC.
“At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction,” Andrew said in an August statement from Buckingham Palace that was emailed to NBC News.
In his interview with the BBC, Prince Andrew echoed his summer statement. “I mean you have to understand that his house, I described it more as almost as a railway station if you know what I mean in the sense that there were people coming in and out of that house all the time,” he said.
Epstein, 66, died by suicide in a federal prison cell in New York City in August after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. He faced up to 45 years in prison on allegations that he sexually abused dozens of girls as young as 14 and young women at his homes in New York and Florida from 2002 to 2005. He pleaded not guilty.
Giuffre’s 2015 lawsuit against Maxwell was settled out of court in 2017. Documents related to the suit that were released in August represent only a portion of the case file and offer limited context in many places.
Her allegations against Prince Andrew were struck from the court records by a judge in April 2015. However, the judge did not rule on the veracity of the claims.
In Giuffre’s first television interview, which aired Sept. 20 on “Dateline,” she told Savannah Guthrie she was forced to have sex with Epstein and others, including Prince Andrew.
“The first time in London, I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and said, ‘You’re gonna meet a prince today,’” Giuffre said. “I didn’t know at that point that I was going to be trafficked to that prince. And then that night Prince Andrew came to her house in London. And we went out to club Tramp. Prince Andrew got me alcohol. It was in the VIP section. I’m pretty sure it was vodka.”
“Prince Andrew was like, ‘Let’s dance together.’ And I was like, ‘OK.’ And we leave club Tramp. And I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey. And Ghislaine said, ‘He’s coming back to the house. And I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Giuffre also said: “I couldn’t believe even royalty was involved.”
Prince Andrew told the BBC that Giuffre’s claims are not true: “No, that couldn’t have happened because the date that’s being suggested I was at home with the children,” he said.
He also addressed why he stayed at the New York home of Epstein after his 2008 conviction.
Epstein reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in Florida that year under which he served 13 months of an 18-month sentence for two state prostitution charges.
“I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times,” Prince Andrew told the BBC. “I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted, it was inappropriate for us to be seen together.”
He added, “At the end of the day, with the benefit of all the hindsight that one could have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do.”
“I admit fully that my judgment was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable but that’s just the way it is,” Andrew said. “I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family.”
Maxwell, who has not been charged with a crime, has not commented publicly on the released court documents or on any matter related to Epstein since his arrest in July. NBC News reached out to her attorney on Friday but did not immediately hear back.
In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit prior to its being settled, Maxwell’s lawyers said Giuffre “produced no evidence substantiating any of her fantastical claims that she had been trafficked by Epstein, or by Maxwell, to any of these men or any others.”