RUMOURS surrounding Prince Andrew's friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein have continued to dog the royal despite years of denials.
The Duke of York had a well publicised association with the disgraced billionaire for years before he was locked up for sex crimes in 2008.
One of the more scandalous allegations to resurface was that the Duke had attended naked pool parties at the sex offender’s Palm Beach pad in a court deposition made by one of Epstein’s former employees.
Jaun Alessi said in a sworn deposition in 2009 that he saw the royal and other guests treated to massages from a harem of girls while he worked for the billionaire at his Palm Beach residence.
At the time the Prince strenuously denied the claims saying he had never had any sexual contact with the girls nor was he aware of any naked pool parties, Vanity Fair reported in 2011.
Andrew’s association with Epstein became even more problematic for the royal family after he was controversially snapped strolling through Central Park with the sex offender two years after his conviction in 2010.
During this sojourn to the Big Apple the Queen's second son reportedly had a four day stay at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
While he was partaking of the financier's hospitality, Epstein also hosted a lavish party attended by New York's glitterati in the Duke's honour.
There were reportedly 15 people at the party including journalist Katie Couric, comedienne Chelsea Handler, former Clinton communications chief George Stephanopoulos and Woody Allen, who has also been accused of sexual impropriety.
But their association dates back even further as the duo were pictured in 2001 partying with topless women on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand.
Andrew even invited the financier to stay at Sandringham and Windsor Castle.
All these meetings took place during the decade The Duke held the post of Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.
The Prince was forced to step down from this role in 2011 after concerns were raised in the House of Commons over his suitability for the post.
He was also photographed with his arm around the waist of Virginia Giuffre – a woman who claims she was Epstein’s underage sex slave.
And in explosive US court papers, she claimed she was forced to sleep with Epstein's friends – however the allegations were later struck from the record as being "immaterial and impertinent".
Prince Andrew has strongly denied any involvement with Mrs Giuffre.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Duke of York has not visited any home of Mr Epstein or met with him since December 2010 when the photograph in Central Park was taken.”
Epstein, 66, is currently facing new charges of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s.
He faces 45 years in jail if found guilty on all counts.
It is understood it is unlikely Prince Andrew will be named in the case.
In 2008 he was allowed to plead guilty to just two counts of sex solicitation, including one involving a minor despite having been accused of sexual abuse by scores more underage girls.
Brad Edwards, who is representing 13 of his new accusers, told a press conference in New York that Epstein had sex with three to four women a day, the DailyMail.com reported.
He said rather than spending time on release working – as he was supposed to – and instead “sex was his full-time job”.
In that report Epstein was accused of coercing dozens of girls and young women to perform “massages” on him and turning the sessions into sex.
Meanwhile, one of Epstein’s accusers Courtney Wild said that he had sex with her at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, when she was 14.
Timeline of the allegations against Jeffrey Epstein
The allegations against him go back to the 2000s
2005 – Parents of a 14-year-old girl told police in Florida that Epstein had molested their daughter at his Palm Beach home. A police search of the property found photos of girls throughout the house.
2006 – Charged with multiple counts of unlawful sexual acts with a minor.
2007 – Epstein’s lawyers put together a plea deal for Epstein, who was the 54.
He agreed to plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges in state court,
In exchange, he and his accomplices received immunity from federal sex-trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life.
2008 – Appears in court to plead guilty on two lesser counts and sentenced to a 18 months in jail and was released early in 2009
July 2019 – Arrested charges of child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Prosecutors accused him in a grand jury indictment of paying dozens of girls as young as 14 to engage in sex acts with him at his New York and Florida properties from 2002 to 2005.
Pleaded not guilty and could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
More than a dozen women have now come forward with more sex abuse allegations
She criticised Florida prosecutors for the 2008 deal, which she said gave Epstein a “free pass” and he "will never stop sexually abusing children until he is in jail."
Epstein was arrested on Saturday at Teterboro Airport, in New Jersey, as he stepped off a private flight from France.
Cops then smashed into his 21,000 sq ft Manhattan mansion — which features a heated pavement outside to keep it clear of snow — leaving the front door battered.
The Sun has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.
Claims about Prince Andrew
Secret files accusing Prince Andrew of having sex with Jeffrey Epstein's 17-year-old "sex slave" are going to be unsealed by a judge – claims he has strongly denied.
Around 2,000 files from a defamation case involving alleged trafficking victim Virgina Roberts are now due to be released following a US Court of Appeal ruling, The Sunday Times reports.
Roberts, now 35, claimed in 2015 she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew by Epstein in London, New York and the Caribbean.
The Duke of York was pictured with his arm around the then 17-year-old's waist at the home of Ghislane Maxwell – a personal aide to the financier – in London in 2001 but has strongly denied the claims.
But a judge threw the accusations against Andrew out because they were "immaterial and impertinent" to Epstein's case.
The Duke of York, 59, has previously faced criticism over his relationship with the child abuser and was pictured walking in Central Park with him in December 2010.
That snap was taken during Andrew’s four-day stay at Epstein’s $77m mansion in Manhattan – shortly after the banker had been freed from prison after a previous child sex trafficking conviction in Florida.
It has also emerged he holidayed with Epstein in Thailand in 2001 and invited him to stay at Windsor Castle and the Queen’s Sandringham estate.
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