Prince Andrew last night dismissed his four-day visit to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s New York ‘house of depravity’ by describing it as a ‘convenient’ place to stay while he broke off their friendship in an ‘honourable’ way.
Speaking for the first time about the 2010 visit to the £60 million Manhattan home – just five months after the financier left jail following his conviction for child sex charges – the Duke of York confirmed he attended a dinner party there on December 2 before his infamous ‘walk in the park’ with the shamed US financier three days later.
He revealed that it was during that stroll through Central Park – captured in a picture that went around the world, haunting him ever since – that he finally broke off their 11-year friendship.
When asked by Emily Maitlis why he stayed with a convicted sex offender, Andrew replied: ‘Ever since this has happened and since this has become, as it were, public knowledge that I was there, I’ve questioned myself as to why did I go and what was I doing and was it the right thing to do?
‘I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted it was inappropriate for us to be seen together.
Speaking for the first time about the 2010 visit to the £60 million Manhattan home – just five months after the financier left jail following his conviction for child sex charges – the Duke of York confirmed he attended a dinner party there on December 2 before his infamous ‘walk in the park’ with the shamed US financier three days later
‘I had a number of people counsel me in both directions, either to go and see him or not to go and see him and I took the judgment call that because this was serious and I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken’s way of doing it I had to go and see him and talk to him.’
He said the photograph in the park was taken when he broke the news to Epstein they could no longer be friends.
‘We had an opportunity to go for a walk in the park and that was the conversation coincidentally that was photographed, which was when I said to him, I said, “Look, because of what has happened I don’t think it is appropriate that we should remain in contact” and by mutual agreement during that walk in the park we decided that we would part company and I left, I think it was the next day [in fact it was two days later] and I never had any contact with him from that day forward.’
Incredibly, the Prince cited the reason for breaking off the friendship as the ‘attendant scrutiny’ he was under – rather than the fact Epstein had pleaded guilty and served time for child sex offences.
Andrew said Epstein’s reaction to his decision was ‘understanding’, adding: ‘He didn’t go into any great depth in the conversation… except to say that he’d accepted… a plea bargain, he’d served his time and he was carrying on with his life, if you see what I mean.’
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