Following an outcry over what many saw as an inadequate statement this weekend in which the queen’s second son sought to downplay and minimize his friendship with Epstein, at one stage calling it a mere “association,” sources at Buckingham Palace on Monday told The Daily Beast, when asked if Andrew would help American police if requested: “Members of the royal family would always cooperate with the police in an appropriate way.”
Whilst not exactly an effusive offer to volunteer information, Andrew probably has little choice but to at least appear to be willing to hypothetically cooperate with American police. The FBI is investigating both the charges against Epstein and the circumstances around his death, but have not yet publicly said if they are seeking to interview Prince Andrew.
The new development comes after British police confirmed that they have decided not to re-investigate claims that Andrew had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, whom Andrew was photographed with in Ghislaine Maxwell’s London apartment when she was 17, and who claims she was trafficked by the dead billionaire.
Giuffre’s allegations against the duke were struck from U.S. civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent.”
Andrew has always vehemently denied any “sexual contact or relationship” with Giuffre and any “impropriety with underage minors.”
Andrew has consistently refused to cooperate with Giuffre’s lawyers; Jack Scarola, a lawyer who has acted for several of Epstein’s victims, including Giuffre, told The Times: “We would welcome the opportunity to examine Prince Andrew under oath—a request we first made many years ago.”
Any assistance to the FBI would likely be rendered remotely; Andrew, it was reported this weekend, believes he may never be able to enter America again for fear of being served with legal and civil suits.
The suggestion that the prince could give evidence as part of a police inquiry comes after his personal statement on the crisis was widely condemned as inadequate.
In it, he tried to downplay his friendship with Epstein and failed to give any explanation of why he continued to spend time with Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution—apparently staying at his palatial Manhattan house for up to a week in December 2010—although he did apologize for doing so.
British premier Boris Johnson was drawn into the controversy on Sunday when he was asked at the G7 summit in Biarritz whether he had confidence in the duke. “I’ve worked with Prince Andrew, I’ve seen the good he has been able to do for UK business overseas,” Johnson said.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 on federal charges of the alleged abuse of a “vast network” of girls. He killed himself in his prison cell on Aug. 10.