World

Prince Andrew accuser tells BBC she was forced to have sex with the British royal

LONDON — An American woman who has claimed US financier Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew when she was 17 said in her first TV interview that the episodes were ‘‘disgusting’’ and asked for the support of the British public.

‘‘This is not some sordid sex story, this is a story of being trafficked, this is a story of abuse, and this is a story of your guys’ royalty,’’ Virginia Roberts Giuffre told the BBC in an hourlong documentary that aired Monday night.

In a BBC interview that aired last month but was recorded after Giuffre spoke to the BBC, Andrew denied all allegations of impropriety and said he had no recollection of even meeting Giuffre.

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‘‘I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,’’ he said. ‘‘I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.’’

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He also defended his relationship with Epstein, a convicted sex offender who committed suicide in a jail cell in August, as he faced sex trafficking charges.

That interview was dubbed a public relations disaster by the palace, and in subsequent days Andrew was forced to step away from his official royal duties and from some 200 charities he supported.

Giuffre — now 35 and a mother of three — told the BBC that she was passed around to Epstein’s rich and powerful friends ‘‘like a platter of fruit.’’

She said she was trafficked to Andrew three times in 2001 and 2002: once in London at the home of Epstein’s girlfriend, once at Epstein’s New York mansion, and once on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein.

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‘‘It didn’t last long,’’ she said of the first of three alleged encounters with the prince.

‘‘He got up, and he said thanks, I sat there in bed, just horrified and ashamed and felt dirty,’’ Giuffre said.

Of Andrew’s denials, she said: ‘‘He knows what happened. I know what happened and there’s only one of us telling the truth, and I know that’s me.’’

Prince Andrew, in his own interview with the BBC last month, could not explain a photograph of the two that showed the prince with his arm around Giuffre’s bare midriff, except to suggest that the picture might have been doctored.

‘‘I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested,’’ he said.

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The photograph, which first circulated in 2011, was allegedly taken in the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell — the youngest child of the British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell — who was Epstein’s girlfriend and a close friend of Prince Andrew.

Maxwell has been described by Epstein’s victims as his ‘‘madam,’’ who procured young women to give Epstein massages for money, and then groomed them to have sex with Epstein and her.

Giuffre said Maxwell recruited her from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

As far as the photograph, Giuffre told the BBC, ‘‘I think the world is getting sick of these ridiculous excuses. It’s a real photo. I’ve given it to the FBI for their investigation and it’s an authentic photo.’’ She said there’s a date on the back of it — March 13, 2001, from when it was printed, two days after she said she left London.

She was asked about inconsistencies in her stories, like once claiming she met Prince Andrew in New Mexico instead of on Epstein’s island. She said: ‘‘You are left with a foggy memory sometimes you really are. So yeah, you know, I might be wrong on dates, absolutely, I might be wrong about places even sometimes. One thing I can tell you is you never forget the face of someone who is heaved over you.’’

When Giuffre told her story to the Daily Mail in 2011, reporter Sharon Churcher wrote at the time: ‘‘There is no suggestion that there was any sexual contact between Virginia and Andrew, or that Andrew knew that Epstein paid her to have sex with his friends.’’

But in a court filing in 2015, Giuffre, whose maiden name is Roberts, said she was ‘‘forced to have sexual relations with this Prince when she was a minor in three separate geographical locations.’’

In Monday’s program, the BBC reporter said he found an e-mail in court documents from Andrew, sent at 5:50 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2015, to Maxwell that reportedly said: ‘‘Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.’’ Maxwell is said to have written back: ‘‘Have some info. Call me when you have a moment.’’

Giuffre’s BBC interview included her account of how she was introduced to Prince Andrew in March 2001, when she claims the two went to the Tramp nightclub in London and Andrew asked her to dance. ‘‘He is the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere, I was just like grossed out from it, but I knew I had to keep him happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would expect from me.’’

In Andrew’s interview with the BBC, he said that at the time, his stint as a Royal Navy pilot in the Falklands war left him with a peculiar medical condition: he couldn’t sweat.

Washington Post