Jeffrey Epstein did visit Norfolk, controversial interview with Prince Andrew confirms
PUBLISHED: 11:14 18 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:14 18 November 2019
Rumours that the controversial friendship between Prince Andrew and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein brought the financier to Norfolk have been confirmed.
In his much-discussed interview with BBC Newsnight, which was broadcast over the weekend, the Duke of York confirmed to interviewer Emily Maitlis that Epstein visited the royal family's Norfolk home in Sandringham.
The revelation firms up long-standing rumours that Prince Andrew had brought Epstein to the county, bringing Norfolk's into one of the country's most talked about stories.
The visit took place many years before Epstein was charged over allegations of sex abuse - but is relevant given the question marks over how close the Prince and Epstein were. Prince Andrew denies they were close friends.
However, there was still some doubt over what the purpose of Epstein's visit was, with the Duke claiming it was "a straightforward shooting weekend".
The Duke was asked: "Am I right in thinking you threw a birthday party for Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell at Sandringham?"
After a brief pause, he replied: "No, it was a shooting weekend. Just a straightforward...straightforward shooting weekend."
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Earlier in the interview, he clarified that the visit was "certainly at my invitation, not that of the royal family".
He added: "Remember, that it was his girlfriend that was the key element in this. He was, as it were, a plus one to a certain extent."
Rumours that Epstein had visited Sandringham have been circulating for more than a decade, with flight logs showing that the controversial billionaire's Gulfstream private jet flew into RAF Marham on December 7, 2000.
The same aircraft was then reported to have left Norwich International Airport two days later.
The hour-long interview was broadcast on BBC One on Saturday evening, which saw the Duke discuss his relationship with Epstein in detail for the first time publicly.
During the interview, he also categorically denied allegations that he had slept with a 17-year-old, Virginia Roberts, claiming to have "no recollection" of meeting the woman.
Epstein died in August, with his body discovered in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York. He was due to stand trial charged with the sexual abuse and trafficking of dozens of young girls.
Previously, pictures of Epstein reportedly taken on the Sandringham Estate alongside Miss Maxwell circulated, however, this is the first time the Duke has spoken of the visit in a public capacity.