The United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew will be honored by the Westminster Abbey bells tolling on his birthday, despite his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Westminster Abbey’s official bell ringing schedule includes the Duke of York’s Feb. 19, 2021 birthday. This honor sparked outrage on the prince’s previous birthday, Fox News reported.
Prince Andrew announced in November that he would be stepping back from his public life following an interview with the BBC regarding his relationship with the late Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in a New York City jail last summer. The interview is widely recognized as a publicity disaster for the prince, according to Fox. (RELATED: Epstein Accuser Says She Gave FBI The Infamous Prince Andrew Photo In 2011)
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein have become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” the prince’s statement, according to Fox News.
A statement by His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG. pic.twitter.com/solPHzEzzp
— The Duke of York (@TheDukeOfYork) November 20, 2019
The prince also said in the statement that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” and that he “unequivocally” regrets his “ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.”
His relationship with Epstein had “some seriously beneficial outcomes,” the prince said in the interview with the BBC. Prince Andrew also suggested that a photo depicting him together with accuser Virginia Giuffre and Epstein cohort Ghislaine Maxwell may have been doctored. The prince also said that Giuffre’s allegations that he sweated profusely during sex could not be true, claiming that he could not sweat at the time due to a medical condition, the BBC reported.
Giuffre has said that Epstein forced her to have sex with many powerful men, including Prince Andrew, according to Fox. Giuffre alleges that she had sex with Prince Andrew in London, New York and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the publication.
“It didn’t happen,” Prince Andrew said, according to Fox. “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
“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,” Buckingham Palace said in an additional December 2019 statement, according to CNN.
Authorities arrested Maxwell July 2, an event that has thrust the prince’s involvement with Epstein back into the national spotlight. In recently unsealed transcripts of depositions from Giuffre’s previously settled 2016 lawsuit, Giuffre discussed the photograph of her and Prince Andrew, telling attorneys that Epstein took the photograph in March 2001. She also said that she gave the photograph to the FBI.
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