In the weeks since Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on sex-trafficking charges back in July, questions have resurfaced about the late financier and accused pedophile’s relationship with Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s son. One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, says that Epstein forced her to have sex with the prince on three occasions while she was underage. Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace have repeatedly denied the allegations against him, even as more documentation of his friendship with Epstein continues to pile up, including a video of him at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, and an account from someone who claimed to have seen him getting a foot massage there from young women.
The palace, it appears, is finally taking the accusations seriously. Or, at least the “optics” of them. According to the Daily Mail, the prince returned home early from a golf vacation in Spain this week to take part in “crisis talks” regarding another damning picture of him that has recently emerged. It shows him at a party hosted by Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 2000, where Epstein was in attendance as well. The prince also apparently realized that it wouldn’t look good for pictures of him enjoying a Spanish golf vacation to come out while he’s being accused of having sex with underage girls. As a source told the Sun this week, “The optics were not a good look, with so many stories about the Epstein accusers while he was on a sunny golf course in Spain. He’s having a series of talks with advisers this week about how to salvage his reputation going forward.”
Others close to the prince have adopted, uh, different strategies to explain away incriminating images of him. For example, a source “close to the prince” suggested to the Telegraph this week that a widely circulated picture from 2001 that shows the prince with his hand around the waist of a 17-year-old Giuffre, with Epstein’s alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, in the background, was in fact doctored. His explanation: In real life, the prince’s fingers are “much chubbier” than the ones in the photo.
“Andrew’s fingers appear quite slender, like a girl’s fingers,” the source said. “They are also a strange shade of red. His real fingers are actually much chubbier, quite small and chubby.”
On Tuesday, the day before Prince Andrew jetted home from his luxurious getaway, his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, spoke to reporters on the steps of a Manhattan courthouse. The prince, she said, “knows exactly what he’s done, and I hope he comes clean about it.”