British Prince Andrew said that staying with billionaire sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein was the “wrong thing to do,” adding “I kick myself on a daily basis” for that decision.
In a clip of a BBC interview posted Saturday, the prince said he regretted spending the night at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010, two years after the financier was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution in Palm Beach, Florida.
“The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted, I stayed with him, and that’s the bit that as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis,” said Prince Andrew, who also holds the title of the Duke of York. “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.”
He also refuted allegations, as the Palace has previously done, that he engaged in sex with Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has said she was forced to have sex with the prince three times, starting when she was 17 in 2001.
“It didn’t happen,” said the prince, as reported by BBC, which is slated to air the full interview Saturday night.
A 2001 photograph shows Prince Andrew standing with his arm around the teenage girl in Epstein associate Ghislane Maxwell’s London home, but he said in the interview that “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
His connection to the Epstein accuser was back in the news after Project Veritas released Nov. 5 an off-the-air video of ABC anchor Amy Robach telling a producer on the set that the network refused in 2016 to air her interview with Ms. Giuffre, citing pressure from the Palace.
“Then the Place found out that we had her whole allegations about Prince Andrew and threatened us a million different ways,” said Ms. Robach in the leaked video. “We were so afraid we wouldn’t be able to interview Kate and Will, that we—that also quashed the story.”
She referred to Prince Andrew’s nephew, Prince William, and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, who hold the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
As for his decision to accept Epstein’s hospitality, Prince Andrew said, “It was a convenient place to stay.”
“I mean, I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times,” the prince said. “At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one could have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time, I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do. And I admit fully that my judgment was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable, but that’s just the way it is.”
His ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, posted a tweet in support of the prince, calling him a “true+real gentleman.”
In a statement, ABC News said that the Epstein story failed to meet its standard at the time to air, while Ms. Robach said that the camera caught her in a “private moment of frustration.”
Epstein was found dead Aug. 10 in his New York City jail cell after being arrested on sex-trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.