- Prince Andrew was photographed sitting in a car beside the Queen just two days after court documents with new details about his alleged involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal were published.
- The Duke of York has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old woman recruited as Epstein’s “sex slave” in 2001, while another woman said the prince touched her inappropriately.
- While Buckingham Palace is yet to comment on the unsealed Epstein documents, the Queen’s decisions to sit in the back seat with Andrew has been described as a “show of support” by the British press.
- Royal editor Robert Jobson told INSIDER the royals used their appearance together to “send a clear message” to the public.
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The Queen could be showing her support for Prince Andrew after new details about his involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal were published on Friday.
The royal is said to have made sexual advances towards women recruited for him by Epstein’s associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, in a recently unsealed defamation case dating back to 2015.
In separate incidents dating back to 2001, one of the women, Virginia Roberts, accused Epstein and Maxwell of forcing her to have sex with the prince when she was just 17. Another woman, Johanna Sjorberg, said Andrew touched her inappropriately.
Two days after the legal documents were published, the Duke of York was pictured next to the Queen on the way to Crathie Kirk church, near Her Majesty’s Scottish holiday home, the Balmoral Estate.
Prince Andrew has attended a church service with the Queen on the same weekend for the past two years, but on those two prior occasions, he did not arrive in a car sat next to his mother.
On the way to the same church service last year, Her Majesty was photographed sitting in the back seat with Princess Beatrice, while Prince Andrew sat in the front. In 2017, meanwhile, she rode in the back with Prince Philip.
Her decision to sit with Andrew on Sunday was described as a “show of support” by The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, while other British newspapers featured headlines on a similar theme.
Robert Jobson, royal editor at the Evening Standard, told INSIDER that the royals used their appearance together to “send a clear message” to the public.
“It is not unusal for the Duke of York to accompany Her Majesty to church. But that said given what has been going on in the US with the Epstein scandal I think it was significant that the Duke was seen looking relaxed and smiling with the Queen,” he said.
“It was a clear message Andrew was sending, visually confirming what he had already stated on the record that he has committed no wrongdoing.”
Buckingham Palace is yet to respond to the new claims surrounding Andrew’s involvement with Epstein. In a previous statement, a palace spokesperson told INSIDER: “It is emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
In the new details published on Friday, Sjoberg alleged that Epstein’s associate, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew used a puppet made to look like him to fondle Roberts.
“Andrew and Virginia sat on the couch, and they put the puppet … on her lap,” Sjoberg said. “I sat on Andrew’s lap, I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine.”
Epstein was found dead by apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center early Saturday morning, just hours after the defamation case was unsealed. The financier was being held without bail on federal charges of sex trafficking minors and conspiracy.