The Queen sat next to her son on their way to church on the grounds of Balmoral this morning, as Prince Andrew faces renewed scrutiny over his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein who was found dead in his jail cell yesterday.
The Prince shared a car with his mother and daughter, Princess Beatrice, to Kirk on the Scottish estate this morning, while Charles and Camilla drove themselves.
Epstein was accused of arranging to have sex with dozens of underage girls at his residences in New York and Florida, but had denied two counts of sex trafficking.
His body was discovered at 6.30am US time yesterday at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan, hours after a court in New York released 2,000 pages of previously sealed legal documents.
One document repeated the allegation, which the Prince has always denied, that Andrew had sex with a 17 year old girl.
Prince Andrew joined Princess Beatrice and Prince Charles and Camilla to attend Sunday Service with the Queen at Crathie Kirk during Her Majesty’s third week of summer break
The Queen with Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice were all smiles as they shared a ride to church this morning
This morning during the third week of the Queen’s summer holiday in Scotland the royal family attended Sunday Service at Crathie Kirk.
Prince Andrew, who joined the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cambridge at the service, may be dragged deeper into the Jeffrey Epstein ‘sex slave’ scandal as sources said a FBI inquiry would now switch to the billionaire’s associates.
Epstein, a former friend of the Duke of York, hanged himself in his New York prison cell yesterday just hours after explosive new documents emerged detailing his depraved activities.
The court papers repeated claims that the Duke slept with Virginia Roberts, 17 at the time and one of Epstein’s ‘sex slaves’, and groped a 21-year-old woman. The Prince denies the claims.
As Epstein’s death fuelled a raft of conspiracy theories last night, lawyers for his alleged victims said he had ‘cheated justice’ and expect the criminal investigation to focus on British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, a mutual friend of Epstein and the Duke.
The latest legal documents claim she ‘operated as … Epstein’s procurer of under age girls’. She has repeatedly denied involvement in his crimes.
Relaxed: the Prince was seen smiling as he shared a chauffeured ride to church with the Queen in Scotland today
All smiles: Andrew looks positively gleeful as he heads to church with his family, while the Queen’s smile is not quite so wide
Meanwhile the Prince of Wales drove himself and the Duchess of Cornwall to church separately at Balmoral today
Soliders arrive to provide the guard of honour at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral, ahead of the Sunday morning church service
As the FBI launched an investigation into Epstein’s death, it emerged that:
- A reporter with the Washington Post newspaper claimed Epstein had told authorities that someone tried to kill him several weeks ago;
- The billionaire had been taken off suicide watch a few days ago, despite being taken to hospital with neck wounds following an apparent suicide bid last month;
- Alleged victims of the financier prepared to file massive compensation claims against his estate;
- The US Attorney General said Epstein’s death ‘raises serious questions’.
A legal source said: ‘Ghislaine is the key to all this now that Epstein will no longer face justice himself. The victims deserve answers and she was the person closest to Epstein.
‘Far from being the end to Prince Andrew’s problems, Epstein’s suicide could put him under renewed scrutiny because of his close friendship with Ghislaine.’
Epstein, who once counted Bill Clinton and Donald Trump among his friends, was facing allegations that he created ‘a vast network’ of underage girls whom he abused between 2002 and 2005.
Prince Andrew is pictured with Epstein in Central Park in New York in February 2011. The Duke may be dragged deeper into the Epstein scandal
Virginia Roberts, then 17 and one of Epstein’s accusers, is photographed with Prince Andrew and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001
Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein (pictured in a police mugshot in 2017) was found hanged in his prison cell in New York City
Asked if the Duke of York would respond to the news of his former friend’s death, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘This relates to proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party.
‘Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.’
But in 2015 Buckingham Palace issued a dramatic and unprecedented denial that he slept with Miss Roberts, saying; ‘It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.
‘Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.’