The royal family is no stranger to scandal, but the suicide of Prince Andrew’s friend, accused pedophile and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has ruffled feathers at the highest level. The royal family is braced for more damaging headlines as the FBI prepares to investigate Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and a close friend of Prince Andrew.
In the U.K., a handful of British M.P.s has also called for a full investigation into the duke’s friendship with Epstein. Given his senior position in the royal family, some feel that the duke must explain his friendship with the late sex offender.
Concerned courtiers, meanwhile, are hoping that the story will move on with the prince being a part of the narrative. However, this is highly unlikely, considering the now notorious photograph of the duke with his arm around the waist of one of Epstein’s teenage victims, Virginia Roberts, apparently taken in 2001 at the London mews home of Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell has been cited as evidence that he could provide valuable insight into the case.
But there are claims the photo is a fake. The duke used his News night interview to say he had no recollection of the picture being taken, that he did not recall meeting Roberts, and to categorically deny having sex with her.
However, Roberts’s claim, seemly contradict this statement, “She had been flown to London by Jeffrey [Epstein]. He would fly her all over the world and she would give him massages on his private jet.” Robert’s also discussed how Prince Andrew first met Epstein (through Ghislaine Maxwell) and spoke about the times the royal stayed at Epstein’s various properties. Prince Andrew also denied allegations that he had sex with another one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre
The prince also mentioned that he would be willing to speak with law enforcement, and said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. But his suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”
This scandal has been deeply embarrassing for the Duke and the royal family and as the dust settles, it has left the public pondering whether the Andrew crisis has permanently damaged the crown and even bigger, philosophical questions about the very future of the monarchy. There is long histories of scandals and intrigues associated with the monarchy, yet none not as quite damning as the Epstein scandal. Whether the monarchy can recover from this scandal remains to be seem.
However, esteemed biographer Sarah Grist wood author of Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown thinks the damage won’t be quite so lasting. “I don’t think it really will do serious damage to the Queen herself,” she tells news.com.au. “Her ‘support’ after all, has been pretty muted and I think there will be a certain sympathy for her having to deal with this in her 90s.