Prince Andrew has been spotted outside for the first time since the Daily Mail published a report questioning his alibi for the night Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims they slept together back in 2001.
Images released by the Daily Mail show the royal riding a horse around Windsor Castle alongside a female groom. Shortly before, he was snapped driving a car in the grounds while sporting white earpods.
Prince Andrew's public appearances have been few and far between since he was relieved of his royal duties following a controversial BBC interview last November. His most recent outing comes after the Daily Mail published a new eye-opening report claiming the duke booked a manicure the same day he said he was busy taking his daughter Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking. However, Roberts Giuffre claims the royal was in fact otherwise engaged with her.
Sex Claims and Prince Andrew’s Alibi
Roberts Giuffre accuses Queen Elizabeth’s son of having sex with her on at least three occasions. She maintains that the first time happened in London on 10 March 2001 when she was only 17.
The woman, now 37, says she was trafficked to the royal by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and that she went clubbing with the duke. Roberts Giuffre says they engaged in foreplay in a bathtub in the house of Epstein's former lover Ghislaine Maxwell, before things moved to a bedroom. Epstein’s young “masseuse” was also photographed with the royal – plus Maxwell in the background – on the night the events reportedly took place.
Some details of Roberts Giuffre’s claims have come under scrutiny, especially her vivid description of the purported encounter with the prince in Maxwell’s bath. The publishing heiress said under oath that her tub was “too small for any type of activity whatsoever.”
However, Prince Andrew’s own defence provoked an even stronger public outcry. In the now infamous BBC Newsnight interview, the duke passionately denied Roberts Giuffre’s accusations, insisting that he was dropping his daughter off at a Pizza Express, and not having sex.
“I was with the children and I'd taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon,” Prince Andrew said, raising eyebrows of those who questioned why he had such a vivid recollection of the event that had taken place nearly twenty years ago.
“Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do ... I've only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly,” the duke explained.
During the interview, he also suggested that the photo of him with his arm around Roberts Giuffre's waist may be doctored, maintaining that he could not remember ever meeting the woman.
The Daily Mail reported on Friday that Prince Andrew also had a manicure booked for the day in question, citing a family diary. The document in question also shows his Pizza Express appointment but the media has been scrutinising the timeframe of events. The police bodyguard able to confirm the prince’s alibi has now died, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, Princess Beatrice, who was just 12 in 2001, earlier said that she has “absolutely no recollection” of the Pizza Express birthday bash.
Prince Andrew has been facing increasing pressure from US prosecutors to assist in the ongoing probe into Epstein’s close circle of friends who allegedly abetted the abuse of minors. According to US attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman, the Duke of York has been uncooperative, despite the royal’s claims to the contrary.
Epstein died in prison in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges – his death was ruled as a suicide. His ex-girlfriend and alleged accomplice Maxwell is now in a Brooklyn prison awaiting trail herself on charges of grooming minors for further abuse by the financier. Her trial is set for the summer of 2021.