Efforts by the Duke of York to distance himself from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal are being thrown into turmoil
Details have now emerged of how Prince Andrew hosted the billionaire pedophile and his entourage at Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s private Scottish retreat.
Buckingham Palace said: “We have and will not comment on private matters relating to visits to Balmoral or other residences.”
The Mail Online reports: One of the young women on the trip told the Daily Mail how the prince personally welcomed the party to the castle in mid-1999 – after the disgraced US financier had already begun recruiting dozens of underage girls as sex slaves.
It comes after revelations that Andrew even visited Epstein – who killed himself in prison this month – at his home in New York in 2010. This was two years after Epstein had been convicted of sex with a child.
Last night, Prince Andrew said he was ‘appalled’ by the allegations about Epstein.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: ‘The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.
‘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.’
In footage from 2010 published by The Mail on Sunday, the Duke of York was shown grinning from the doorway of Epstein’s mansion – dubbed the ‘House of Horrors’ by some of his victims – as a number of very young women leave and enter.
He is seen waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get in a chauffeur-driven car.
Speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday, the woman who joined Epstein at Balmoral 20 years ago recalled making ‘chitchat’ with the prince.
‘He was really nice. He was very polite. [He had his] guard up,’ said the woman, who was then a model in her 20s.
She told how the group stayed overnight at the 52-bedroom castle, and spent the following day being entertained in the grounds.
The visit is thought to have taken place in late summer or early autumn – when the Queen is likely to have been in residence.
Epstein and his entourage visited the estate as part of a week-long trip to the UK, during which they also stayed at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-partner who has been accused of lining up underage girls for him to have sex with.
The woman who joined them on the trip – not long after she had started giving sexual massages to Epstein – recalled how she had felt like she was in a ‘fairytale’, brushing with royalty. But now she says she had no idea why she was ever included in the visit.
‘Why was I really there?’ she said. ‘Did [Epstein] really enjoy my company all that much or was I being prepped to end up being sent out like a gift to some people?’
She avoided any plans Epstein may have had for her that evening by retiring to bed early.
Nearly a year later, in June 2000, Epstein and Miss Maxwell attended a party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th birthday, Princess Anne’s 50th, Princess Margaret’s 70th and Prince William’s 18th.
In 2001, Andrew met another member of Epstein’s entourage, Virginia Roberts, who claims she was on a trip to London with the financier when she met Andrew and had sex with him in a bath.
Miss Roberts claims she slept with Andrew three times – in London and New York – when she was 17.
The claims, submitted to a court in 2014, were thrown out by a judge as ‘immaterial and impertinent’.
Andrew has vehemently denied any sexual encounters with her.
Buckingham Palace has said: ‘Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue. It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.’