What are the allegations?
Andrew, the Queen’s second eldest son, has been accused by Virginia Giuffre of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager between 2001 and 2002.
She has claimed that Andrew had sex with her on three different occasions – in London, New York and on Epstein’s private Caribbean island – without her consent. She claims he knew she was 17.
Giuffre claims she was sex trafficked to the royal by the late, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was Andrew’s friend at the time.
She also claims Epstein and his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell would groom and abuse girls and young women – which is how Andrew came to allegedly meet Giuffre.
Now 38, Giuffre is suing Andrew in a New York civil case for alleged sexual assault.
Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently denies all the claims against him.
What does the Met have to do with this case?
The civil case may be based in New York, but it has international implications.
Back in August when Giuiffre announced the civil case against Andrew, the Met said it would revisit its decision not to investigate whether Epstein committed any crimes while he was in London – including sex trafficking.
At the time, Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said: “It’s been reviewed twice before, we’ve worked closely with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service).
“We are of course open to working with authorities overseas; we will give them every assistance if they ask us for anything within the law, obviously.
“As a result of what’s going on, I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material.
“No-one is above the law.”
The Met had already decided not to open an investigation into Giuffre’s allegations back in November 2019 after Andrew’s car crash interview with BBC Newsnight.
The Met said it was “not the appropriate authority” to investigate the issue then. It also reviewed whether there was evidence of a crime.
via Associated Press
Why has the Met decided not to investigate again?
It remains unclear what exactly has prompted this latest announcement from the Met and the police have neither confirmed nor denied who it has spoken to in its review.
The Met explained it would not be investigating allegations linked to Epstein’s potential crimes on Monday in a statement, which read: “As a matter of procedure, MPS officers reviewed a document released in August 2021 as part of a US civil action.
“This review has concluded and we are taking no further action.”
What else has the Met said?
It has also announced that it has completed its review into allegations against Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged accomplice and a Briton currently awaiting trial behind bars in the US, which were first raised by Channel 4 News In June.
The Met said it had “reviewed information passed to us by a media organisation in June” and that it would not be taking any further action.
The force said it will continue to “liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein”.
Why is this significant?
Some critics – such as The Independent’s Victoria Richards – believe this development will “further erode women’s trust in the police” in the UK.
The Met has faced extensive criticism for its response to women’s safety in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder at the hands of a then-serving police officer back in March.
Andrew stepped down as a working royal back in November 2019 after his disastrous Newsnight interview.
He has faced yet more scrutiny for the way his team claimed he had not been served his legal papers and therefore could not be sued by Giuffre back in August.
He now has until October 29 to formally respond to the lawsuit and its unspecified damages.
The FBI have repeatedly alleged that Andrew has not cooperated in their ongoing investigation into Epstein’s international sex trafficking ring either, although his team maintains that he has offered to help repeatedly.
In August, Andrew was declared a “person of interest” in the Epstein investigation by the US, meaning he could have crucial information to the case but is not accused of any crime.
What has Prince Andrew’s allies said about the Met?
A source close to Andrew told the PA Media agency that the Met’s decision “came as no surprise”.
They continued: “Despite pressure from the media and claims of new evidence, the Met have concluded that the claims are not sufficient to warrant any further investigation.
“The Duke has always vigorously maintained his innocence and continues to do so.”
What has Giuffre’s team said?
Sigrid McCawley, Giuffre’s US lawyer, told The Sunday Times: “Given the clear and compelling evidence implicating Prince Andrew, the Metropolitan police should reopen its investigation and stand by their statement that no one is above the law.”
Miami Herald via Tribune News Service via Getty I