Sarah Ferguson has posted an extraordinary Instagram post in which she defended her ex-husband Prince Andrew, ‘this giant of a principled man’ amid allegations over his close friendship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duchess of York shared the bizarre and emotional tribute ahead of Andrew’s interview tonight, praising him as a ‘true and real gentleman’ who ‘dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth’.
Andrew spoke with Emily Maitlis for the programme ‘Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal’, which is to air on BBC2 at 9pm on Saturday, where the duke addresses his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein – and claims he had sex with Virginia Roberts.
Sarah Ferguson, 60, posted a series of photos of Andrew on Instagram with a long and heartfelt caption which read: ‘It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs.
‘Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people.
‘I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth.
Sarah Ferguson posted an extraordinary tribute to her husband amid allegations over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein
The Duchess of York is visiting Venice today after it was submerged by floods as storms and winds brought misery to the city
Prince Andrew has maintained that he never ‘witnessed or suspected any improper behaviour by Epstein’ and strenuously denied any allegations of wrongdoing
‘For so many years he has gone about his duties for Great Britain and The Monarch. It is time for Andrew to stand firm now, and that he has, and I am with him every step of the way and that is my honour.
‘We have always walked tall and strong, he for me and me for him. We are the best examples of joint parenting, with both our girls and I go back to my three C’s… Communicate, compromise, compassion.’
Last month the Duchess of York spoke out on her ex-husband’s ties to the disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein for the first time, insisting she will support Prince Andrew amid the engulfing scandal surrounding the royal’s friendship with the convicted paedophile.
The duchess, who has remained close to Andrew since their split in 1996 and is the mother of his two daughters, talked up the importance of ‘familyhood’ when asked if she was standing by the prince.
She today joined model and race car driver Jodie Kidd in flooded areas of Venice – submerged by floods for the second time in a week as storms and winds brought fresh misery to a city facing £1 billion euros’ worth of damage.
Sarah Ferguson tweeted out a series of pictures of the duke, defending him ahead of the bombshell interview
The Duke of York has been interviewed by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis at Buckingham Palace and will be broadcast on BBC 2 at 9pm on Saturday
Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986 and have remained close since their divorce in 1996
Prince Andrew has maintained that he never ‘witnessed or suspected any improper behaviour by Epstein’ and strenuously denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
In a ‘make or break’ TV interview about the scandal tonight, he said it felt like’ the right thing to do’ to stay friends with Epstein and did so because he was ‘too honourable’ to refuse.
He said he recognises it was wrong and now regrets going to stay with Epstein in New York after the financier’s release from prison on child sex offences.
Princess Eugenie is spotted arriving at JFK Airport today hours before her father’s BBC interview
Referring to the Queen and the Royal Family, he admitted he ‘let the side down’.
The Duke also said he does not remember meeting Virginia Roberts, the woman who claimed she had sex with him when she was 17.
He told the BBC’s Emily Maitlis: ‘It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.
‘But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.’
Andrew also said: ‘The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted I stayed with him.
‘That’s the bit I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.’
During the exchange, Andrew again rejects the claim by one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts, that he had sex with her when she was 17.
The prince says he does not even remember meeting Miss Roberts, despite the existence of a photograph showing him with his arm around the teenager’s bare waist alongside Epstein’s alleged ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell.
‘She says she met you in 2001, she says she dined with you, danced with you at Tramp nightclub in London.
‘She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend. Your response?’ asks Miss Maitlis.
‘I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,’ Andrew replies.
Andrew (left) also again rejects the claim by one of Epstein’s (right) victims, Virginia Roberts, that he had sex with her when she was 17
A view of Jeffrey Epstein’s stone mansion on Little St. James Island (pictured above) – where Andrew was accused of taking part in an orgy in 2015 court documents
‘You don’t remember meeting her?’ the interviewer asks.
‘No,’ Andrew firmly states.
The full interview, which was conducted at Buckingham Palace, will be shown on BBC 2 at 9pm tonight in a Newsnight special: Prince Andrew & The Epstein Scandal.
According to royal sources, the programme makes for uncomfortable viewing at times, but, they say, is a ‘no holds barred’ discussion of the Epstein case.
A friend of Prince Andrew told the Daily Mail’s Richard Kay: ‘In a way, he is saying “judge me”.
‘Everything else had failed, he had no alternative.’
Virginia Roberts photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001. Maxwell has been accused of being Epstein’s pimp
Virginia Roberts (pictured) alleges she was coerced by paedophile US businessman Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the Duke, into having sex with Andrew on three occasions
Jack Scarola, a leading member of Virginia Roberts’ legal team, told Mail Online he would like the duke to submit to an interview ‘under oath’ instead of giving statements to the media that carry ‘little weight’
Insiders have also said that the Duke felt he had no choice but to speak out after being left ‘paralysed’ by his inability to defend his reputation.
Fergie herself has a history with Epstein, having accepted £15,000 from the American businessman to help pay off a personal debt.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 by FBI agents after he landed at Teterboro airport in New Jersey following a flight from Paris Le Bourget airport in his private jet.
U.S. prosecutors had alleged that Epstein ‘sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls’ from 2002 to 2005 at his properties in New York and Florida.
Last month the Duchess of York spoke out on her ex-husband’s ties to the disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein for the first time, insisting she will support Prince Andrew amid the engulfing scandal (Andrew and Sarah Ferguson pictured in 2010)
Epstein – who faced 45 years in prison – had entered a ‘not guilty’ plea when he appeared before judges on July 8.
He killed himself in the Manhattan jail on August 10 while faces sex trafficking charges.
Earlier this year the Duke admitted it was a ‘mistake’ to meet Epstein in New York in 2011 after the billionaire’s release from prison for child sex offences.
The full interview will be shown on BBC Two at 9pm on Saturday in a Newsnight special: Prince Andrew & The Epstein Scandal.
Andrew’s no-holds-barred interview with the BBC
Maitlis: One of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts, says she met you in 2001, dined with you, danced with you at Tramp nightclub. She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia. Your response?
ANDREW: I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.
Maitlis: You don’t remember meeting her?
ANDREW: The problem was… once he [Epstein] had been convicted…
Maitlis: … You stayed with him.
ANDREW: I stayed with him and that’s… that’s… that’s the bit that…that… that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.
ANDREW: It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times.
At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.
But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.
And he’s STILL saying he can’t remember this
By Christian Gysin for the Daily Mail
The infamous photograph of Prince Andrew smiling as he stands with his left arm around the waist of a young Virginia Roberts has dogged him for years.
Both the photo and the claims made by the young American – that she had sex with the prince in society hostess Ghislaine Maxwell’s central London home – refuse to go away.
Miss Roberts maintains the photograph was taken in March 2001 when paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Miss Maxwell and Andrew returned to Miss Maxwell’s mews house after dinner and a visit to Tramp nightclub in Mayfair.
The infamous photograph of Prince Andrew smiling as he stands with his left arm around the waist of a young Virginia Roberts has dogged him for years
Miss Roberts, who was 17, said the group went upstairs and it was then that she asked Epstein to take a shot of her with the divorced prince. Miss Maxwell is in the background.
She later revealed she wanted to show the photograph to her mother and, after the picture was taken, Epstein and Miss Maxwell left the pair alone.
Today the prince will tell Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis he does not recall meeting Miss Roberts.
The clear implication from his answer on the BBC is, therefore, that the photograph is a fake.
The picture was first published by the Mail on Sunday in 2011 after the newspaper found Miss Roberts living in a small bungalow in New South Wales.
In recent months, Andrew’s friends have tried to discredit the photograph – with some saying it had been doctored on a computer.
The Duke of York , speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis
Andrew is seen dressed in dark trousers and a light blue shirt with several buttons undone and with the sleeves adorned with cufflinks. This was a ‘look’ he favoured at the time. Only a few months earlier a photograph was taken of the prince in almost exactly the same clothing.
Sources close to Andrew have also claimed his fingers ‘don’t look right’ in the photograph.
However Andrew has chubby fingers and in a shot taken of him at around the same time this appears to be the case. His fingers in the shot with Miss Roberts also look remarkably similar to other photos from the time.
Sources close to Andrew question his height relative to Miss Roberts. The prince is around 6ft, while Miss Roberts is said to be around 5ft 8in. The picture does seem to reflect this.
There is clearly the sight of a flash as the shutter button was pressed by Epstein and the style of the window matches Miss Maxwell’s then home.
Photographic experts point out that the practice of manipulating images was in its infancy when the picture was taken.
Prince Andrew ‘agonised’ over decision to give BBC interview in which he admits he ‘let the Queen down’: Duke felt he had no alternative but to address questions about Epstein friendship and claims he had sex with a teenage girl, says RICHARD KAY
Comment by Richard Kay for the Daily Mail
Prince Andrew’s judgment, or the distinct lack of it, has long been an integral part of his character.
All too often, a reckless self- indulgence has obscured his other qualities: being well-meaning and trying to put his best foot forward.
His decision, therefore, to give a no-holds-barred interview to the BBC about his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein — and, crucially, the claims that he had sex with a teenage girl — is more than just an air-clearing exercise.
It is the act of a gambler — and the stakes could not be higher.
For make no mistake, by sitting down and answering questions from Newsnight’s formidable presenter Emily Maitlis, Prince Andrew is putting his reputation on the line.
Prince Andrew is pictured with Epstein in Central Park in New York in February 2011
The omens for such television confessionals are not good. Neither Princess Diana unburdening herself to Panorama, nor Prince Charles opening up to Jonathan Dimbleby, were anything other than unintentional acts of self-harm. Both are remembered chiefly for their acknowledgement of mutual acts of adultery.
If candour alone sufficed, then Andrew’s remarkable admission that in his foolishness he had let the Queen down will be the stand-out moment from tonight’s broadcast.
This is the gambling equivalent of betting the house on the last spin of the roulette wheel — and Andrew has put it all on black.
While the BBC is naturally patting itself on the back for pulling off this great scoop, the Prince will be nervously wondering if this undoubtedly courageous decision was the right one.
So why did he do it? Quite simply, he felt he had no alternative. For months the rumours and gossip about Andrew and Epstein — and the explosive allegations from Virginia Roberts that she had been flown to London to have sex with the Prince — have hung around the Duke of York like a bad smell.
Far from ending the speculation, Epstein’s death at his own hand in a New York prison cell in August served only to revive the sordid stories of orgies, massage parlours and a private jet nicknamed the ‘Lolita Express’.
One story in particular persisted, the claim from Roberts that she and Andrew had sex together on no fewer than three occasions.
And then, of course, there was the apparently ‘compromising’ photograph of the Prince with his arm proprietorially around the bare midriff of the then 17-year-old girl.
Ever since these stories first surfaced, when prosecutors in the U.S. finally got to grips with Epstein’s disgusting activities, Andrew has relied on the usual sources to distance himself.
Prince Andrew has previously denied being aware of any of Epstein’s illegal activities. He is pictured above in 2010 answering the door of Epstein’s New York mansion
The allegations, said friends, were preposterous and untrue. But the arrest of the billionaire financier this summer, against the background of the #Me Too movement, dramatically changed the optics.
Andrew’s standing and even his ability to function as a working member of the Royal Family were under threat. In September, it was reported that at least one of the Prince’s official engagements during a visit to Northern Ireland had been cancelled because of concerns that the Epstein affair would overshadow it.
He began to aggressively counter-punch. Senior Palace sources categorically denied Roberts’s claim, pouring scorn on her assertion that she and Andrew had drunk cocktails together in Tramp, the West End nightclub.
They pointed out that: ‘The Duke doesn’t drink.’ However, in Roberts’s original testimony, she said: ‘Andrew got me a cocktail from the bar and he had a drink for himself.’
More significantly, doubts were also cast on the authenticity of the infamous midriff photograph, apparently taken in the London mews home of Andrew’s friend — and Epstein’s procurer of girls — Ghislaine Maxwell, who is also in the picture.
Officials questioned whether the photograph had been manipulated, from the fingers around the girl’s waist to the discrepancy in height between the two.
Andrew, said aides, had distinctively chubby or sausage fingers. ‘They don’t look right in the picture,’ it was said.
But while all this may have muddied the waters, the cut-through and clearing the air that Andrew was hoping for did not materialise. The suspicions and innuendo would not go away and the Duke remained on the back foot. The damage to his image was worsening by the day and it threatened to overshadow the wider public perception of the Royal Family.
Moreover, the drip, drip, drip of the claims was also endangering his major charity project — Pitch@Palace in which he helps to put would-be entrepreneurs in touch with investors and mentors.
Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured together in New York in 2005
Rumours circulated that some of the blue chip companies involved were beginning to feel uncomfortable.
All the same, Prince Andrew did not rush into the Newsnight interview without weighing up the pros and cons. His calculation rested on this: by answering direct questions about Roberts’s claim, he knew he could be accused of lying. Dramatically, he then took the bull by the horns, first consulting the Queen, not just for her permission to film the confrontation in the South Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, but also for her approval.
Even so, the Duke agonised over the wisdom of doing it, pondering on what might go wrong as well as what might work.
In the end, his argument was simply that he had no other choice and needed to demonstrate to people that he has been telling the truth. At the same time, he knew he would have to agree to the BBC having a free-for-all in its line of questioning.
Nothing would be vetted beforehand. There were no pre-conditions. No royal has ever undergone such rigorous cross-examination. Both Diana and Charles knew what was coming in their interviews — Andrew did not.
BBC insiders tell me they were impressed with his candour and humility. For Andrew, the questioning must have been excruciating as he was interrogated about the most intimate of matters. We are told that tonight’s film comprises 50 minutes of tough, uncompromising questioning.
Last night, the BBC released two key exchanges. One about Roberts goes like this:
Maitlis: ‘She says she met you in 2001, she says she dined with you, danced with you at Tramp nightclub in London. She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend. Your response?’
Andrew: ‘I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.’
Maitlis: ‘You don’t remember meeting her?
But it will, I suspect, be the Prince’s response to questions about why he remained friends with Epstein that will stick in the memory. For they reveal a vulnerability and show just how affecting the allegations have been.
Asked about why he continued to see Epstein after his release from prison, Andrew admits he was wrong, saying: ‘I kick myself for it on a daily basis, because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.’
For the Prince, the whole nerve- shredding exercise has been to show that he has nothing to hide, that he has been wholly honest and truthful. ‘In a way,’ says a friend, ‘he is saying “judge me”. Everything else had failed, he had no alternative.’
Now the judgment rests with the British people. But, as brave as Prince Andrew’s decision has been to speak out, some no doubt will still say that if he is prepared to sit down with the television cameras, he should surely now be prepared to subject himself to the questions of the New York Police Department and the FBI.
How Duke of York’s annual meetings with Epstein including after he was sent to jail caused Prince Andrew decades of trouble
Here is a timeline of the duke’s relationship with Epstein.
Andrew first meets Epstein, reportedly introduced through his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.
Andrew welcomes Epstein to the Queen’s private Scottish retreat in Aberdeenshire. Andrew later says he sees Epstein ‘infrequently’, adding ‘probably no more than only once or twice a year’.
Andrew and Ms Maxwell are seen on holiday with Epstein at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein and Ms Maxwell attend 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.
Virginia Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew ‘three times, including one orgy’, with the first encounter allegedly taking place in Ms Maxwell’s London townhouse. Ms Roberts claims to have had sex with Andrew on two more occasions, at Epstein’s New York home and at an ‘orgy’ on his private island in the Caribbean.
Epstein admits prostituting minors and is sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Epstein is released from jail. Andrew is photographed with the disgraced Epstein in New York’s Central Park.
Footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on December 6 2010, showing him inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, from where he is seen looking out from a large door of the property waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get into a chauffeur-driven car.
The duke quits his role as UK trade envoy after the fallout from the Central Park photos.
Buckingham Palace denies Andrew has committed any impropriety after he is named in US court documents related to Epstein. A woman, later named in reports as Ms Roberts, alleges in papers filed 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.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Andrew, in his first public engagement since he was embroiled in the allegations, responds, saying: ‘Firstly I think I must, and want, for the record, to refer to the events that have taken place in the last few weeks.
‘I just wish to reiterate, and to reaffirm, the statements that have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace.’
In April the claims against Andrew are struck from US civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling.
Newly released legal documents show that Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, claimed Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations are ‘categorically untrue’.
Epstein is found dead in his jail cell on August 10, having killed himself after being charged with sex trafficking.
Later that month a pilot on Epstein’s private jet claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Ms Roberts.
The Sun newspaper reported that David Rodgers said in a testimony released in August that Epstein, Andrew and the-then 17-year-old travelled to the US Virgin Islands on April 11 2001.
Buckingham Palace describes the evidence statement as having ‘a number of inconsistencies’ and said that Andrew was on a different continent in some cases.
Following Epstein’s death, a statement from the palace says that Andrew is ‘appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes’.
Breaking his silence on the issue for the first time since 2015, Andrew then releases a statement on August 24 saying: ‘At no stage during the limited time I spent with him (Epstein) did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.’
Mark Epstein fears that he and his children will be murdered like he claims his brother Jeffrey was after ‘sham suicide probe’
A defiant Mark Epstein is lashing out at federal officials in the wake of his brother Jeffrey’s death.
In a rare interview with Julie Brown of the Miami Herald, Mark says that the investigation into his brother’s suicide was both incomplete and inconclusive, making it impossible to determine his cause of death.
Mark also reveals that even he has seen no evidence to support the New York City Medical Examiner’s conclusion that his brother committed suicide, and cannot think of a single reason why the pedophile would have taken his own life.
He now says that he fears he or his family members could be targeted by the same individuals who may have wanted Jeffrey dead, and implores those who so quickly labeled the death a suicide to take another look at the case.
‘It’s all very suspicious, too much to be a coincidence,’ says Mark.
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Mark Epstein (above in August) says that his life and the life of his family members could be at risk in an interview with Julie Brown for the Miami Herald
In the interview, Mark makes it clear that he cannot accept the idea that his brother would want to take his own life.
‘I could see if he got a life sentence, I could then see him taking himself out, but he had a bail hearing coming up,’ explains Mark.
He later goes into more detail, arguing: ‘He had a bail hearing in two days. He agreed to be on house arrest. He was going to hire armed guards to keep an eye on him at his own expense.’
Mark then adds: ‘He was the most recognizable person on the planet. Where is he going to run and hide?’
At the same time, it is unclear how he would be able to make that determination given his own description of the relationship he had with Jeffrey prior to his death.
‘Jeffrey and I were not that close, we shared brother stuff, but I was not involved in what he was doing,’ reveals Mark.
‘When he first got in trouble he called me. We were very straight with each other. I wasn’t going to lecture him.’
Three months after his death, officials have still not released any details at all about the case.
This has left Mark concerned that he and his children could suffer a fate similar to Jeffrey’s at the hands of a person or persons that officials have no interest in trying to identify.
‘Jeffrey knew a lot of stuff about a lot of people,’ notes Mark.