The Royal Family has been accused of using bullying accusations levelled at Meghan Markle to distract from allegations of sexual misconduct made against the Duke of York.
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing some of the women who say they were victims of Jeffrey Epstein, has said: “allegations about him are far worse than the allegations about Meghan Markle. Prince Andrew was a working royal when he became a friend of Jeffrey Epstein, who was a sexual predator.”
“Prince Andrew is accused of much more than bullying or harassment in the workplace.”
Allred is part of a legal team calling for Prince Andrew to particpate in a face-to-face interview with US prosecutors investigating the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein.
One of the women represented by Allred is Virginia Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, who alleges that she was sex trafficked by Epstein to Prince Andrew.
Prince Andrew has denied all claims of wrongdoing.
What did Prince Andrew say in BBC interview?
In November 2019 Prince Andrew took part in a now infamous interview with BBC.
Interviewer Emily Maitlis asked the Duke why he continued his relationship with Epstein, who took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, after the businessman’s conviction for soliciting underage sex.
Stumbling, the Duke replied: “I stayed with him and that’s … the bit I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.”
He also refuted claims he sweated heavily while reportedly dancing with Ms Giuffre in Tramp nightclub, saying he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
Andrew was criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards the paedophile’s victims and for failing to show regret for his friendship with Epstein, who took his own life while in prison.
Within days, he was forced to step down from public duties such was the backlash from the businesses and charities he had links with.
What are Virginia Roberts’ accusations?
Virginia Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, claims the duke had sex with her on two occasions when she was 17, still a minor under US law.
She also alleges they had sex a third and final time on Epstein’s private island when she was 18.
The duke categorically denies he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.
In a 2020 documentary called Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, Ms Giuffre alleges that he compared her to his daughters.
She said: “Before he abused me, when we just met, Ghislaine [Maxwell] does this guessing game and he guessed right, I was 17 and he compared me to his daughters, saying, ‘Oh, my daughters are a few years younger than you’”.
She added: “Prince Andrew is not the prince from the fairy tale stories you read.
“Andrew deserves to be outed. He deserves to be held accountable. He’s an abuser.”