Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and the second youngest son of the UK Queen, broke his silence on charges that he was an associate of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, The Sun reported Sunday.
“The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes", a Buckingham Palace spokesperson stated. "His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent".
Earlier this week, a video was published allegedly showing Prince Andrew peering out of the front door of Epstein’s residence in New York, dubbed “The House of Horrors", according to The Sun. According to the report, the Prince is seen saying goodbye to a young woman who then walks away down the street. The photos were reportedly taken in 2010, several years after Epstein served his first prison term for soliciting underage prostitution.
"When the Prince came to the door I was stunned. He looked totally at ease", an unnamed source to the Daily Mail Sunday. "If I hadn't known it was Prince Andrew, I would have thought he owned the place".
An earlier photo circulating online shows a younger Prince Andrew hugging Virginia Giuffre, who has testified under oath that she was a “sex slave” to Epstein.
Several other women have accused the Duke of improper conduct, including Virginia Roberts, who detailed intimate relationships with Prince Andrew on several occasions, including in Epstein’s residences, but her allegations were dismissed by a UK judge.
"Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue", a Palace spokesperson said, regarding Roberts’s testimony. "It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation".
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on 10 August in what has been reported by officials as a suicide in his jail cell while awaiting trial over sex trafficking charges.
Before his death, the convicted sex offender boasted connections with a number of powerful people - including US presidents Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates - and claimed that he had “dirt” on powerful acquaintances. Although it is unclear to what extent Epstein exaggerated his own importance, the claims have sparked rumours that someone played a role in his demise.