The Queen showed her support for her son, the Duke of York, Sunday as he was plunged into a further round of damaging allegations following the apparent suicide of his former friend, the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
She chose to sit beside the Duke in a car, accompanied by his daughter Princess Beatrice, on the way to church at Balmoral, Scotland, yesterday morning. All three could be seen smiling inside the vehicle.
The monarch’s intervention came as prosecutors in New York said they were continuing to investigate a “conspiracy” of sex trafficking minors, and their attention turned to living associates of Epstein. The Duke was braced for the release of further court documents in coming weeks.
Adam Citron, a former New York prosecutor, told The Daily Telegraph the prosecutors would “absolutely” want to speak to the Duke and Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s British former girlfriend, as witnesses as they built up a picture of Epstein’s world.
He said: “The case against Epstein is kaput. He’s dead. But they’re looking at a conspiracy, so you can still look at person X, Y, or Z. With all that’s going on it would be political suicide for them not to speak to everyone.
He added: “I’d assume Prince Andrew would want to cooperate if they ask. And I’m sure he’ll have good lawyers, and they’ll talk to the prosecutors’ back channel.”
Virginia Giuffre, 36, who has claimed to have been Epstein’s teenage “sex slave,” alleged in court documents that she had sex with the Duke when she was 17. The allegations about the Duke were struck from the court record in 2015 after being described as “immaterial and impertinent” by a judge. The Duke has always denied the allegations and any involvement.
I’d assume Prince Andrew would want to cooperate if they ask. And I’m sure he’ll have good lawyers, and they’ll talk to the prosecutors’ back channel
The New York Post reported that Maxwell was already “cooperating with federal authorities,” but the report could not be verified. Maxwell’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment. Her current whereabouts is unknown.
Epstein died the day after the release of around 1,200 previously secret documents from a civil case in which Giuffre had sued Ms Maxwell for defamation. In the documents the Duke was alleged to have touched the breast of a young woman, Johanna Sjoberg, then 21, while at Epstein’s home.
The documents were only the first tranche from the case, and there could be up to 10,000 more pages.
Meanwhile, the FBI has launched an investigation into how Epstein was allowed to die at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan.
People close to Epstein fear he was murdered, according to Carol Leonnig, a Washington Post reporter. According to those people, Epstein had told authorities that someone tried to kill him weeks ago. He had been placed on suicide watch following an apparent previous attempt on July 23, but then sent back to his cell, alone, a week later.
Donald Trump fuelled conspiracy theories, suggesting that Bill Clinton had been to Epstein’s “pedophile island,” which Mr Clinton has denied.
The U.S. president also retweeted a follower who wrote: “Jeffrey Epstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead. Retweet if you’re not Surprised.”
A Clinton spokesman said: “Ridiculous, and of course not true — and Donald Trump knows it.”