The Sunday Telegraph

Duke: I couldn’t have slept with teenager, I was at Pizza Express

- By Patrick Sawer, Edward Malnick and Camilla Tominey

THE Duke of York last night vigorously denied claims he had slept with a 17-year-old girl, saying he had been at a Pizza Express in Woking with Princess Beatrice at the time.

Speaking during an unpreceden­ted 60-minute interview with Emily Maitlis, the BBC Newsnight presenter, the Duke gave a series of reasons as to why Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s accusation­s were false, including that her account of him sweating while dancing at Tramp nightclub could not be true because he suffered from a medical condition that stopped him perspiring.

He also said that on the night in question he was at home with his family after visiting Pizza Express with his daughter.

But the Duke threatened to reignite the controvers­y over his relationsh­ip with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender, last night when he declared he had no regrets over their friendship.

The Duke said he only visited Epstein’s New York home in 2010 following his release from prison after serving time for child sex abuse offences, in order to break off the friendship – although this apparently took several days. But he told Maitlis he had no regrets about their relationsh­ip.

Responding to her question he said: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunit­ies that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”

He also admitted that he had attended a dinner party held by Epstein to celebrate his release from the Florida jail where he served 13 months for procuring an underage girl for prostituti­on and of soliciting a prostitute.

Royal insiders have revealed that the Duke of York insisted he was “not doing

Newsnight” weeks before agreeing to his top aide’s suggestion of the broadcast interview that was yesterday branded a PR “disaster”.

The Duke is said to have initially refused to take part in the interview, broadcast last night, before being persuaded by Amanda Thirsk, his private secretary.

During the Newsnight interview the Duke admitted the controvers­y over his friendship with child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a constant sore for the Royal family.

But he was insistent in his denial that he had ever slept with either Ms Giuffre or any other underage women. He said: “It didn’t happen.”

In a US court deposition Ms Giuffre claimed she was 17 when she met the Prince in 2001, went dancing with him at the Tramp nightclub in London, and went on to have sex with him in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell.

But the Duke said he was at home with his children and had taken Beatrice to Pizza Express on the day Roberts claimed this happened.

He said: “I was at home, I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party.” In response to her claim that he was sweating profusely that night, he says that would have been impossible. He said: “I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time … because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply ... it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”

The Duke also denied having bought her a drink at the nightclub. “I’m convinced that I was never in Tramps with her.

“There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramps. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there,” he said.

Ms Giuffre’s allegation­s were struck from American civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial”.

‘I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falklands war when I was shot at’

 ??  ?? The Duke of York told Newsnight he had no regrets over his relationsh­ip with Jeffrey Epstein, as it had given him ‘useful’ opportunit­ies
The Duke of York told Newsnight he had no regrets over his relationsh­ip with Jeffrey Epstein, as it had given him ‘useful’ opportunit­ies

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