Duke of York ‘hosted Epstein at Balmoral’

Duke of York ‘hosted Epstein at Balmoral’

The UK's Duke of York hosted Jeffrey Epstein and his entourage on the Balmoral estate, it has been reported.

Andrew welcomed the since-disgraced billionaire, who was later convicted of being a paedophile, to the Queen’s private Scottish retreat in Aberdeenshire in 1999, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

Buckingham Palace said: “We have and will not comment on private matters relating to visits to Balmoral or other residences.”

Andrew said on Sunday that he was “appalled” by recent sex abuse claims surrounding his former friend, who killed himself in prison earlier this month.

The duke released a statement after new footage emerged showing him inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010, two years after Epstein’s conviction.

The video, obtained by MailOnline, was reportedly shot on December 6 2010, around the time Andrew was photographed with disgraced financier Epstein in New York’s Central Park.

Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell (New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP)
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell (New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP)

It shows the duke looking out from a large door of the mansion waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get in a chauffeur-driven car.

A Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”

Andrew has been dogged by accusations of a lack of judgment about his links with Epstein.

He quit his role as UK trade envoy in 2011 after the fallout from the Central Park photos.

The Duke of York visiting CrossRail in 2011 as special representative for international trade and investment (Anthony Devlin/PA)
The Duke of York visiting CrossRail in 2011 as special representative for international trade and investment (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Buckingham Palace has issued strong denials over claims from a woman who said she was forced to have under-age sex with the duke.

Virginia Roberts alleged in court papers in Florida that she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent in the state.

She alleged she had sex with Andrew “three times, including one orgy” in London, at Epstein’s New York home, and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean.

But Buckingham Palace has branded the allegations “false and without any foundation”, stating: “Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.

In June 2000, Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell attended a party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th birthday, the Princess Royal’s 50th, the Queen Mother’s 100th and Princess Margaret’s 70th.

The celebration was held on Prince William’s 18th birthday, but William was not at the party because he was revising for his A-levels.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in his jail cell in New York earlier this month after being charged with sex trafficking.

- Press Association

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