Florida Department of Law Enforcement via AP; Chris Jackson/Reuters
- Prince Andrew and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein are known to have been friends for nearly 20 years.
- According to a 2011 Vanity Fair article, Prince Andrew robustly defended their friendship even after Epstein was convicted of being a sex offender.
- Andrew reportedly told a friend who warned him to abandon Epstein: "You’re such a puritan … Jeffrey’s my friend… And I’m going to be loyal to him."
- It comes in stark contrast a statement this week, in which said he was "appalled" by reports of Epstein’s alleged sex crimes.
- Andrew also hosted Epstein and his entourage at Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s estate in Scotland, about 20 years ago, The Daily Mail reported on Monday, citing a woman who joined the trip
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Prince Andrew once defended his controversial friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, telling a friend who warned him against it that they were being "such a puritan," a 2011 report from Vanity Fair claimed.
It comes in stark contrast to a Buckingham Palace statement on Monday, which said Andrew is "appalled" by reports of Epstein’s alleged sex crimes.
The article, by feature writer Edward Klein for the August 2011 issue cited an unnamed source, "who knows both men well," as saying:
"After Jeffrey was convicted, I phoned Andrew and told him, ‘You cannot have a relationship with Jeffrey. You can’t do these things.’
"And he said, ‘Stop giving me a hard time. You’re such a puritan.’
"From there, our conversation descended into a screaming match, and finally Andrew said, ‘Leave me alone. Jeffrey’s my friend. Being loyal to your friends is a virtue. And I’m going to be loyal to him.’"
Epstein was convicted of sex crimes and registered as a sex offender in 2008, three years before the Vanity Fair article, and at a time when many of Epstein’s former associates had already distanced themselves from him.
Epstein died by apparent suicide in a New York jail last Saturday while awaiting trail on sex-trafficking charges.
Andrew and Epstein were friends for nearly 20 years, according to documented contact of their relationship.
The latest account of their friendship came on Monday, when the Daily Mail reported that Andrew hosted Epstein and his entourage at Balmoral — the Queen’s estate in Scotland — during a weeklong trip about 20 years ago.
The group stayed overnight at Balmoral Castle and the following day in the grounds, the Mail reported, citing an unnamed woman who was part of the trip. She was a model in her 20s at the time.
She added that she made "chitchat" with the prince. She said: "He was really nice. He was very polite. [He had his] guard up," according to The Mail.
The newspaper added that the visit likely took place in late summer or early autumn, when the Queen may have been in residence.
During the trip they also stayed at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-girlfriend and alleged "madam," who is accused of scouting and lining up girls for the businessman.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment when Business Insider asked about the Vanity Fair quote, as well as Epstein’s reported visit to Balmoral.
Stuart Yeates/Flickr (CC)
This is not the first account claiming Epstein’ had access to the royal family via Andrew.
In June 2000, Epstein and Maxwell attended the Dance of the Decades, a joint party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th, Princess Anne’s 50th, Princess Margaret’s 70th, and Prince William’s 18th birthdays, according to The Daily Mail.
In the following years, the duke hosted Epstein and Maxwell for shooting parties at Sandringham House, the Queen’s country retreat in eastern England, according to New York Magazine.
Buckingham Palace has never denied a friendship between Epstein and Andrew. It has repeatedly denied claims, made in legal documents linked to Epstein, that Andrew had sexual relations with any underage girls.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an alleged Epstein victim who says she was recruited at 15 years old, accused Andrew of making sexual advances on her in a trove of court documents unsealed earlier this month.
‘It was Jeffrey who taught Andrew how to relax’
Andrew and Epstein were reportedly introduced in the 1990s by Maxwell, who was often seen with high-profile figures in both British and US society.
Epstein was the one who taught Andrew "how to relax," Vanity Fair’s source said in 2011.
"Jeffrey had Andrew put on a pair of sweatpants for the first time in his life," the person said. "He had him wear blue jeans for the first time. It was Jeffrey who taught Andrew how to relax."
According to the 2011 Vanity Fair story, the Queen asked Andrew why he was friends with Epstein despite FBI investigations into his links with young women.
"The duke assured his mother that he had no sexual relationship with Virginia Roberts or any of Jeffrey Epstein’s girls," the source said, referring to Giuffre.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the Queen’s reported meeting with Andrew.
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