Skip to main content

The Prince Andrew affair: Your questions answered

The infamous photo of Prince Andrew with his arm round Virginia Giuffre (c) and Ghislaine Maxwell standing in the background
Image: Prince Andrew with Virginia Giuffre (C) and Ghislaine Maxwell (R)

The friendship between the Queen’s son and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, the grim allegations made by Virginia Giuffre, and a car crash interview with BBC’s Newsnight all added up to one of the biggest scandals to ever rock the Royal Family. Here’s everything you need to know about the Prince Andrew affair.

When did Prince Andrew meet Jeffrey Epstein?

According to Andrew, he first met billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein in 1999, when they were introduced by their mutual friend Ghislaine Maxwell, the once high-flying socialite who is now serving a prison sentence for sex trafficking and other charges related to her close relationship with Epstein.

Were Prince Andrew and Epstein friends?

In his now infamous interview with Emily Maitlis for BBC’s Newsnight, Andrew acknowledged that they were friends, with the caveat that ‘it would be a considerable stretch to say that he was a very, very close friend’. However, it’s a matter of public record that Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were guests at royal residences several times and that the prince stayed at Epstein’s properties, including his private island in the US Virgin Islands.

What happened to Jeffrey Epstein?

Investigated for allegedly abusing multiple underage girls, Epstein took a controversial plea deal in 2008 and served only 13 months in a jail work-release programme. In 2010, Andrew was photographed with Epstein in New York, and later explained that he had only visited the disgraced financier to terminate their friendship in person. Epstein died in a jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking; it was ruled a suicide.

A spoof 'wanted' poster for Prince Andrew on the side of a yellow school bus
Image: Brian Minkoff /

Who is Virginia Giuffre?

Virginia Giuffre is an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking exploits. According to Giuffre, she was 16 when she was introduced to Epstein by Ghislaine Maxwell, whom she met while working at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Giuffre has recounted that as well as being abused by Epstein himself, she was coerced into having sex with his powerful friends and associates, being ‘passed around like a platter of fruit’.

When did Andrew allegedly meet Virginia Giuffre?

Giuffre says she was introduced to the prince by Epstein and Maxwell on 10th March 2001, when she was 17. According to Giuffre, they went to the exclusive nightclub Tramp in London’s Mayfair, where she danced with Andrew, who was sweating profusely and ‘the most incredibly hideous dancer’ she had ever seen. Later, they allegedly returned to Maxwell’s house where a now-infamous photograph was taken of Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s waist.

What allegedly happened between Andrew and Virginia Giuffre?

Giuffre says that Ghislaine Maxwell told her that she had to ‘do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey’. According to Giuffre, she was coerced into having sex with him that evening after returning from Tramp, and two more times at Epstein’s properties in New York and the US Virgin Islands.

What is Andrew’s version of events?

During a 2019 Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis, Andrew said he could not remember ever meeting Virginia Giuffre (named Virginia Roberts at the time they allegedly crossed paths). He also denied being at Tramp on the night in question and denied ever having sex with Giuffre.

Why does Andrew recall the date so well?

When asked by Maitlis why he knew where he was on the 10th March 2001, Andrew replied that earlier that day he’d taken his daughter to a birthday party at a Woking branch of Pizza Express. ‘Going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do,’ he explained. ‘I've only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly. As soon as somebody reminded me of it, I went, "Oh yes, I remember that.”’

He also told Maitlis that Giuffre’s claim that he’d been sweating profusely on the dance floor didn’t ring true because he wasn’t physically capable of sweating at that time. ‘I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at,’ the prince explained. ‘It was almost impossible for me to sweat.’

How has Andrew responded to the photograph with Virginia Giuffre?

When challenged by Maitlis on the photograph showing him with his arm around Giuffre, Andrew said he had ‘simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken’. He went on to deny ever having sex with any woman trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein.

What happened to the lawsuit against Prince Andrew?

In 2021, Giuffre filed a lawsuit in New York against Prince Andrew, accusing him of sexual assault and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. Andrew’s legal team responded with a filing requesting the US judge to dismiss the case and stating that ‘Giuffre has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense’.

The judge rejected the attempt to dismiss the suit, and in 2022 Andrew reached an out-of-court settlement with Giuffre, which included a ‘substantial donation to Ms Giuffre's charity in support of victims’ rights’.

How much was the settlement?

The sum has not been officially disclosed. It was reported to have been as high as £12 million, though the estimated figure has since been revised down to around £3 million. It has also been reported that Queen Elizabeth II helped her son settle the case by making a personal £2 million donation to Giuffre’s charity.

What is Andrew’s status now?

In 2022, shortly before he settled with Giuffre, Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages were returned to the Queen. He stopped using the title ‘His Royal Highness’ in an official capacity and has been a non-working royal ever since.