Prince Andrew was ordered to move his private offices out of Buckingham Palace in the wake of an announcement he made that he would be formally relinquishing his official duties following a nuclear interview he gave to the BBC. In it, he defended his longtime friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, according to The Times of London on Friday.
The paper reported Andrew’s own mother, Queen Elizabeth, gave the Duke of York his walking papers as he continues to face a slew of criticism amid allegations he had sex with an underage girl.
In the BBC interview, the 59-year-old prince attempted to establish an alibi for a key New York trip in the Epstein scandal, in which Andrew claimed he had stayed with former diplomat Sir Thomas Harris, the consul-general in New York at the time. Allegations made against him by accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre were impossible, Andrew said in the sit-down conversation, according to the New York Post.
Andrew also stated during the interview that he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
However, Giuffre maintained in court filings that the convicted sex offender Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew at least three times, recalling the prince “sweating all over me” on a London dance floor. Andrew, denying the claim, has pointed to his “stay” with the consul-general and claims that he cannot sweat as a consequence of a war injury.
“I have a peculiar medical condition,” Andrew told the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. “Which is that I don’t sweat, or I didn’t sweat at the time … because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at.”
“And I simply — it was, it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”
Meanwhile, Sir Thomas Harris, 74, denied having any “recollection” of Andrew’s stay to the Daily Mail and said that any harboring of senior royals is usually registered in the Court Circular.
“It doesn’t sound as if he stayed with me,” Harris, who served in New York from 1999 to 2004, told the outlet. “I don’t recall him staying with me.”
Harris admitted to the website that he no longer had his 2001 diary, however, he noted that no such stays were listed for that specific time period, which “makes me suspect he wasn’t with me that night.”
“If you go through the Court Circular, you will come across the other visits he paid to New York. That was the typical pattern,” he said.
Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
(U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)
“It doesn’t ring any bell whatsoever,” he said of the 2001 trip.
Prince Andrew’s exit from Buckingham is the first time a member of the royal family has stepped down from official duties – his reputation so tarnished that his 93-year-old mother felt it necessary to relieve him of his post – the Times reported.
On Thursday, the queen also reportedly fired Andrew’s longtime private secretary Amanda Thirsk after she pushed for the prince to go forward with his BBC interview.
Despite his ousting, the family presented a united front on Friday, with the queen being seen riding horses with her son near Windsor Castle.
Per the New York Post, it’s also been a mass exodus for corporate sponsors and partners of Andrew and his entrepreneurship society with organizations such as Barclays and KPMG.
Epstein, 66, died in jail on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges that prosecutors alleged involved many girls over several years in the early 2000s.
A rep for Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.