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Prince Andrew’s BBC Newsnight interview last weekend about his friendship with billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August, left a lot of people with some pretty pointed thoughts. Epstein was arrested in July for sex trafficking underage girls in Florida from 2002 to 2005, and since then, the Duke of York’s connection to Epstein has arched the eyebrows of the public. Andrew’s interview, in which he said he did not regret being friends with Epstein, also had Meghan Markles’ friends brows furrowed, per The Telegraph.
What shocked the group, according to the paper, was the manner in which Andrew dismissed claims that he had had sex with a teen girl. Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 35, was 17 years old at the time she alleges the incident took place with the Duke of York. During the interview, the duke said he would have remembered the encounter because sex for a man is a “positive act.”
A friend of Meghan’s told The Telegraph that the interview “left everyone watching it wanting to curl under a table. It just got worse and worse and worse.” The Duchess of Sussex actively champions female victims of sexual violence.
The Duke of York had been friends with Epstein since 1999, when the two met through Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend. How close they remained over the years isn’t clear, but Epstein did attend Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party in 2006, after he was charged with an account of prostitution. In 2010, Andrew traveled to New York City to reportedly end the friendship with Epstein, yet still remained in contact and stayed at Epstein’s home during later visits, because, he told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, it “was a convenient place to stay.”