THE DUKE of York has publicly denied claims by a US woman that she was forced to have sex with him.
In his first public appearance since the allegations were made, Prince Andrew reiterated the denials which have already been issued by Buckingham Palace.
The duke looked resolute and calm as he met leading figures from the worlds of politics and business at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos yesterday, an event held to promote promising British entrepreneurs.
Speaking briefly about the allegations he said: “Firstly I think I must, and want, for the record, to refer to events of the last few weeks.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
“I would like to reiterate and reaffirm the statements that have been issued on my behalf by Buckingham Palace.” He went on: “My focus is on my work and this evening allows me to tell you about the initiatives I’m passionate about.”
The woman who has made the allegations in a US court has been named as Virginia Roberts. She claims she was made to have sex with the duke on three separate occasions when she was a teenager
Lawyers acting on her behalf have filed a letter in a Florida court addressed to the Duke at Buckingham Palace, asking him to take part in a two-hour interview.
The duke, 54, has faced mounting pressure to speak personally about the allegations which have dogged him since they were first reported at the start of the year.
Speaking before the duke appeared, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “We would not comment on speculation about what the duke might say.”
Andrew was greeted by television cameras and journalists as he arrived at the Swiss ski resort just hours after it emerged that lawyers for Ms Roberts have formally requested that he respond to her allegations under oath.
Ms Roberts – who is referred to in court as Jane Doe No 3 – claims she was forced to have sex with the duke when she was aged 17 by his financier friend Jeffrey Epstein, who is a convicted sex offender who spent time in jail for a sex offence with a minor.
The letter from Ms Roberts’ lawyers, dated 14 January, states: “This letter is a formal request…to interview you, under oath, regarding interactions that you had with Jane Doe No 3 beginning in approximately early 2001. Jane Doe No 3 was then 17 years old.”
It goes on to say: “The interview could be conducted at a time and place of your choosing, and with your co-operation, I believe the interview could be completed in two hours or less.”
The Duke is also asked “the favour of a prompt reply by no later than January 19”.
In a sworn affidavit, Ms Roberts, who is now 31, said: “I have seen Buckingham Palace’s recent ‘emphatic’ denial that Prince Andrew had sexual contact with me.
“That denial is false and hurtful to me. I did have sexual contact with him as I have described here – under oath.
“Given what he knows and has seen, I was hoping that he would simply voluntarily tell the truth about everything.
“I hope my attorneys can interview Prince Andrew under oath about the contacts and that he will tell the truth.”