SARAH Ferguson has defended her ex-husband Prince Andrew, branding him a “giant of a principled man” as he denies ever meeting Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex slave.
The Duchess of York said on Instagram the prince was “true and real gentleman” ahead of his bombshell interview on BBC Newsnight.
Prince Andrew sensationally claims he was being “too honourable” by staying with paedo pal Jeffrey Epstein – but insisted it was “convenient” for him.
The grovelling Duke of York has apologised for his friendship with the millionaire saying he “let the side down” in an explosive ‘unvetted’ question interview with BBC’s Emily Maitlis.
Fergie said wrote a message of support today saying she was with him “every step of the way”.
The 60-year-old wrote: “It is so rare to meet people that able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs.
“Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best of people.
“I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth.
“For so many years he has gone about his duties for Great Britain and The Monarch.
“It is time for Andrew to stand firm now, and that he has, and I am with him every step of the way and that is my honour.
“We have always walked tall and strong, he for me and me for him.
“We are the best examples of joint parenting, with both our girls and go back to my three C’s – Communicate, Compromise, Compassion.”
In tonight’s interview, the Duke will also talk about the impact on him, Fergie and their daughters.
The Duchess of York tweeted today supporting her ex-husband, who she has remained close to since their divorce, alongside a series of pictures of Andrew.
The Duchess said: “It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty+pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs. Andrew is a true+real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness + goodness”.
His daughter Princess Eugenie was snapped looking glum as she flew into JFK airport in New York today.
In the most shocking royal TV moment since Diana spoke about her marriage, Prince Andrew opened up about the Epstein scandal[/caption]
The Duke revealed that he ‘kicks himself on a daily basis’ for staying friends with US paedophile Jeffrey Epstein[/caption]
He was also quizzed about Virginia Roberts – who claimed they had sex three times when she was 17 – but Andrew said he had ‘no recollection’ of meeting her[/caption]
Andrew remained close to the US tycoon after his first conviction in 2008 – but insists he “no recollection” of meeting Virginia Roberts, who claims they had sex three times.
The prince also told the Ms Maitlis he stayed with Epstein in his Manhattan mansion after the paedo was released from jail for “convenience”.
He said: “It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times.
“At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.
“But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.”
The embattled Duke of York has faced continued scrutiny over his relationship with Epstein, who hanged himself while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.
Ms Roberts claims she had sex with the prince aged 17 – which he strongly denies.
Andrew was infamously pictured with his arm around her at Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in London in 2001.
But he claims in the bombshell interview, which is airing tonight at 9pm, he doesn’t ever remember meeting the alleged sex slave.
Ms Maitlis asks: “She says she met you in 2001, she says she dined with you, danced with you at Tramp nightclub in London.
“She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend. Your response?”
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever”, Andrew replies.
Asked again, “You don’t remember meeting her,” he affirms: “No.”
Epstein, who was found hanged in jail earlier this year, had been friends with Andrew since 1999[/caption]
In 2015, a US judge struck out Ms Roberts’ allegations against the Prince for being “immaterial and impertinent”.
Royal officials have cast doubt on the 2001 photo – claiming it was faked because the prince has fatter fingers in real life.
The Duke was last pictured with Epstein in New York in 2010 after the hedge fund manager had been released from prison and was a registered sex offender.
He told Newsnight, which is airing tonight, how he “kicks himself daily” for staying pals with US paedophile Epstein.
And, in the most astonishing royal TV moment since Diana spoke about the breakdown of her and Charles’ marriage, Andrew admits he was wrong to keep in contact.
‘I LET THE SIDE DOWN’
Speaking inside Buckingham Palace, he told Ms Maitlis: “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 on a daily basis, because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family.
“We try and uphold the highest standards, and I let the side down. Simple as that.”
Buckingham Palace has previously said: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Andrew admitted he was wrong to keep in contact after Epstein was convicted of procuring an underage girl for prostitution[/caption]
He also confessed the ordeal had been hard on ex wife Sarah Ferguson and their daughters[/caption]
Sources close to Andrew say he has recently felt backed into a corner by spiralling rumours and the claims made by Roberts. He began to fear it could damage his charity work if he did not address them head on.
A senior official said the decision to speak to the BBC was taken with the Queen’s knowledge — and that Maitlis had free rein to quiz him as fiercely and robustly as possible.
A royal source close to Andrew said last night: “The Duke has been facing this horrible episode for far too long.
“It started back in 2011 and it has now become particularly vicious.
“He’s tried in every way he can to honestly and consistently put his case across, but it just hasn’t been cutting through.”
The source added: “He’s had headlines about the Playboy Prince, Airmiles Andy, and the Prince and the Paedo, but nothing could be further. If there are things that he is, it’s not those.”
Andrew became more heavily embroiled in the Epstein scandal following a 2015 US lawsuit where Roberts first claimed she had sex with the Prince.
She has since claimed the Duke should “come clean” about his wrongdoing and face prison, though there is no criminal investigation open into her allegations.
A media representative for Roberts yesterday said she had no comment “at this time”.
But her lawyer Brad Edwards told The Sun Andrew should be speaking to the authorities or her legal team as they have “all the information”.
Jack Scarola, another member of Roberts’ legal team, said: “I believe there is an ongoing investigation in New York by the FBI under the supervision of the US Attorney’s office into those involved in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse.
“I would love to see Prince Andrew submit to an interview under oath with the investigating authorities.”
MOST READ IN NEWS
Epstein was first jailed in 2008 for procuring an underage girl for prostitution. He got an 18-month sentence, during which he was able to go on “work release” to his office six days a week. He was released on probation after 13 months.
This July he was arrested on sex trafficking allegations. On August 10 he was found hanged at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Centre — three weeks after being found unconscious with neck injuries.
Checks were not carried out on the night in question, and CCTV appeared to have malfunctioned. Officials are investigating.
Telly quiz bid to save tarnished reputation
By Dan Wootton, Executive Editor
HAVING to endure a squirm- inducing inquisition from BBC’s Emily Maitlis INSIDE Buckingham Palace is an acknowledgement that these are indeed desperate times for Randy Andy.
There is zero doubt that the Duke of York is fighting to save his battered reputation.
This could be the most consequential royal interview since Princess Diana on Panorama in 1995 — but the early indication is he hasn’t done quite enough.
Saying of accuser Virginia Roberts that he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady” is hardly a full throttled denial of sex. He is clearly penitent about his decision to visit Jeffrey Epstein AFTER his conviction. But can he explain maintaining any sort of relationship with a known paedophile?
While Andrew wants this interview to be the end of the matter, it actually might raise more questions. Why not help in the US civil court cases? And what about further co-operation with the police?
This is the second disastrous royal TV interview in a month, following Harry and Meghan’s woe-is-me Africa documentary.
Like that one, Andrew’s chat will infuriate Prince Charles as it takes the spotlight away from his trip to New Zealand.
And Andrew’s choice to go public could backfire if it looks like he’s trying to “mansplain” his way out of a dodgy situation. But he’s right about one thing – he let the side down in a mortifying manner.
Even the Queen must be disappointed in her favourite son.