Analysis of legal papers, 20 years of newspaper reports and Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs has shown that the deceased financier and convicted sex offender’s friendship with Britain’s Prince Andrew might have been closer than formerly realized.
Here, the Guardian answers some of the key questions about the allegations against Andrew and his relationship with Epstein, while important but lesser-known details from accusers and witnesses are considered.
How did Epstein meet the Duke of York?
Illustration: Mountain People
Andrew last month said in an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight that he met Epstein in 1999, through Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Maxwell, the socialite daughter of disgraced press baron Robert Maxwell, has been accused by a number of women of being complicit with Epstein in sex trafficking and abuse, and in some cases, partaking in it.
She has denied all allegations against her.
While it is not disputed that Andrew met Epstein through Maxwell, some have said that they met earlier than 1999.
A 2011 letter to the Times from the prince’s then-private secretary, Alastair Watson, suggested that the pair knew each other from the early 1990s.
How close were Andrew and Epstein?
Andrew said he and Epstein were “not that close.”
However, the pair attended several private dinners, parties and fundraisers together, including a birthday party the prince threw in 2000 for Maxwell at Sandringham House, the private residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
The same year, Epstein and the prince partied with now-US President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, his residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
The following year, Andrew and Epstein went on holiday together and were pictured on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand, surrounded by topless young women.
The Times reported that the prince’s holiday was paid for by Epstein.
A Channel 4 Dispatches program discovered that over 12 years, from 1999, Epstein and Andrew met on at least 10 occasions, the prince staying for several days at a time at Epstein’s residences in New York, Palm Beach and the Virgin Islands.
Epstein even attended an 18th birthday party for Andrew’s daughter, Princess Beatrice, at Windsor Castle in 2006, two months after he had been issued an arrest warrant for sexual assault of a minor. The prince said that he was unaware of the warrant and that Epstein attended as Maxwell’s guest.
The prince told the BBC that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, because “the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him, or because of him, were actually very useful.”
How significant is Andrew’s relationship with Maxwell?
Andrew is alleged to have had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre for the first time at Maxwell’s London home.
The prince and Maxwell are known to have been together at least a dozen times between 1999 and 2001. For instance, they were pictured at Heidi Klum’s “hookers and pimps” fancy dress party in October 2000, a month after being pictured at the wedding of a mutual friend.
There was speculation that the pair were dating.
Maxwell is reported to have introduced the prince to at least one person he dated.
An e-mail exchange between Andrew and Maxwell, days after the prince was named in US court documents submitted by Roberts Giuffre, suggested that he was asking for help in responding to the allegations.
In the 2015 e-mails, unearthed in a BBC Panorama investigation, the prince wrote: “Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.”
“Have some info. Call me when you have a moment,” Maxwell replied.
Is it possible Andrew did not meet accuser Roberts Giuffre, as he claims?
Andrew has said he has “no recollection” of meeting Roberts Giuffre, despite being pictured with his arm around her in a now notorious photograph said to have been taken by Epstein.
Two men who said they saw the original picture have said it is genuine, but friends of Andrew told the London Evening Standard they thought it was fake, claiming Andrew’s fingers are “much chubbier” in real life.
In an interview with Panorama, Roberts Giuffre insisted that the photo was real, saying she gave the original to the FBI in 2001 and adding: “There’s a date on the back of it from when it was printed.”
How many times does Roberts Giuffre allege she and Andrew had sex?
What is Andrew’s response to the first alleged incident with Roberts Giuffre, in London on March 10, 2001?
Roberts Giuffre said that she was first trafficked by Epstein to have sex with the prince in Maxwell’s London home after dancing with him at Tramp nightclub.
Andrew told Newsnight that he was not at Tramp, but at a children’s birthday party at a Pizza Express restaurant.
He has “categorically” denied ever having sex with Roberts Giuffre.
Earlier this week, a woman came forward, saying she saw the prince and Roberts Giuffre “feet away” from each other on the dancefloor at the club.
The prince told Newsnight that “it’s very difficult to forget” having sex with someone, because it’s a “positive act for a man.”
What about the second alleged incident?
Roberts Giuffre alleged that she had sex with Andrew a second time at Epstein’s New York mansion, while she was Epstein’s “sex slave.”
Andrew has said that this cannot be true because he was busy on official duties.
However, a former aide told the Telegraph that Andrew had “ gaps” in his diary, and was allegedly unaccompanied for several hours in New York at a time when Roberts Giuffre was in the US and said they had sex.
“I was very surprised to see him again. Epstein and Maxwell were making lewd jokes about ‘Randy Andy.’ I had sex with Andy there. I was only paid US$400 from Epstein for servicing Andy that time,” she said.
What about the third alleged incident on Epstein’s Island, Little St James?
In evidence to a Florida court in 2015, Roberts Giuffre wrote: “The third time I had sex with Andy was in an orgy on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.”
“I was around 18 at the time. Epstein, Andy, approximately eight other young girls and I had sex together. The other girls all seemed and appeared to be under the age of 18 and didn’t really speak English,” she added.
Roberts Giuffre’s allegations were struck from the US court record in 2015.
Andrew has denied all the allegations.
Are there other allegations?
Johanna Sjoberg has said that Andrew fondled her breast at Epstein’s New York home on the same night as Roberts Giuffre’s second allegation, when she was 21.
The prince has denied any sexual contact with Sjoberg.
In a defamation suit filed against Maxwell by Roberts Giuffre in 2015, Sjoberg said that she, Roberts Giuffre and another female were invited to sit on Andrew’s lap to pose for a photo with him and his Spitting Image puppet.
“Virginia sat on a chair and had the puppet on her lap. Andrew sat on another chair, I sat on his lap — and he put his hand on my breast. Ghislaine put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast, then Andrew put his hand on mine. It was a great joke,” she said.
Differences between Roberts Giuffre’s and Sjoberg’s recollections of this night have been noted. Asked about accusations of inconsistency during her Panorama interview, Roberts Giuffre said: “You are left with a foggy memory sometimes, you really are. I might be wrong on dates absolutely and I might be wrong on places even, sometimes, but one thing that I can tell you is you never forget the face of someone who has heaved over you.”
Last month, Sjoberg said that she was prepared to share her claims with the FBI.
What do others say who witnessed Andrew and Epstein together?
Andrew was seen inside the New York home of Epstein getting a foot massage from a young woman, according to e-mails between a literary agent, John Brockman, and author Evgeny Morozov.
Brockman was reported to have said: “Last time I visited his house, I walked in to find him in a sweatsuit and a British guy in a suit with suspenders [braces], getting foot massages from two young well-dressed Russian women.”
Brockman wrote that the prince complained about his public profile.
“In Monaco, Albert works 12 hours a day, but at 9pm, when he goes out, he does whatever he wants and nobody cares, but, if I do it, I’m in big trouble,” the e-mails described him as saying.
At that point, Brockman wrote: “I realized that the recipient of Irina’s foot massage was his Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, Duke of York.”
What can we learn from Epstein’s flight logs?
Andrew flew on Epstein’s private plane at least four times, once to Edinburgh, once to the Virgin Islands and twice to Palm Beach.
Six weeks after Epstein was arrested for sex offenses on Sept. 1, 2006, the prince flew from London Luton Airport to Edinburgh on Epstein’s plane with Maxwell.
An analysis of the flight logs by Dispatches found that on April 16, 1998, Epstein met “Princess Sarah Ferguson and kids” on the ground in Nassau in the Bahamas.
The flight logs also confirm that Roberts Giuffre was in London on the night of her first alleged meeting with the prince.
How does Andrew’s ex-wife, Ferguson, fit into all this?
In December 2010, the Duchess of York was given ￡15,000 (US$19,724 at the current exchange rate) by Epstein to help pay off her debts, just 18 months after he was released from jail for soliciting prostitution from underage girls.
The Duchess later said that her judgement had been “clouded” by her desperation to get out of her ￡5 million debt and vowed to repay the money.
She is understood to have visited Epstein’s properties several times.
“I personally, on behalf of myself, deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me,” the Duchess told the Evening Standard.
What now for Andrew?
The prince has stepped down from official duties. Five Epstein accusers have said they want him to give evidence in US courts, saying he must talk to the FBI.
Their lawyer, David Boies, has said that Andrew witnessed men being given massages at the financier’s homes.
Pretrial witness subpoenas have been prepared for the five cases and could be served on the prince if he sets foot in the US again.
Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? The controversy emerged with the announcement by the Inner Mongolia Education Bureau on Aug. 26 that first-grade elementary-school and junior-high students would in certain subjects start learning with Chinese-language textbooks, as
There are worrying signs that China is on the brink of a major food shortage, which might trigger a strategic contest over food security and push Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), already under intense pressure, toward drastic measures, potentially spelling trouble for Taiwan and the rest of the world. China has encountered a perfect storm of disasters this year. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, China’s largest agricultural region. Floodwaters are estimated to have already destroyed the crops on 6 million hectares of farmland. The situation has been
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With