Andrew says he has 'no recollection' of meeting Jeffrey Epstein accuser

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Promoting the BBC Newsnight interview, which will air Saturday in the U.K., Maitlis said on Friday's episode of Newsnight that Andrew "had to find approval from the highest levels-we now understand that was the queen".

Prince Andrew has told a TV interviewer he can not recall meeting Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, who says she had sex with the prince while she was underage.

The BBC interview is the first time that Andrew has addressed questions over the Epstein controversy.

"I stayed with him and that's... that's... that's bit that... that... this, as it had been, I kick myself to on a daily basis", the priest said.

The duke said that with "hindsight" his decision to stay at Epstein's house was "definitely the wrong thing to do" and that his judgment was "probably coloured" at the time. "But on the biggest question facing the prince - the allegation that he had sex with the 17-year-old Virginia Roberts, now Giuffre - the categorical denial that some might have expected or hoped for simply isn't there".

He replies, "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever", BBC News reported.

The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson described the duke, who is her ex-husband, as "stoically steadfast" and a "real gentleman" in a Twitter post.

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The estate of Jeffrey Epstein wants to set up a fund using the late financier's fortune to compensate women willing to forgo a spate of lawsuits seeking damages for sexual abuse, according to a court document filed on Thursday.

Andrew told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he has "no recollection" of meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who says Epstein paid her US$15,000 after she had sex with the prince in 2001 when she was 17.

Prince Andrew has been dogged by claims about his relationship with Epstein since the billionaire was unmasked as a paedophile more than a decade ago. All have denied the allegations. Giuffre claims she was enslaved and sex trafficked by Epstein and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.

It is understood the Palace felt now was the right time to do an interview with a feeling that the statements denying the allegations had not had enough of an impact.

Exactly what the prince knew about the allegations against Epstein has been a point of contention in the months since the USA businessman was arrested on sex trafficking charges in July.

"Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue", a statement from Buckingham Palace said earlier this year. "I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behavior", he said.

Epstein, 66, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to solicitation of prostitution - including one count involving a minor - died awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in August.

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