UK

Met Police drop probe into Virginia Roberts’ sex abuse claims against Prince Andrew

The Metropolitan Police did not speak to Virginia Roberts before dropping its probe into claims she was flown to London by Jeffrey Epstein for sex with Prince Andrew, it was claimed today, as a grinning Prince Andrew broke cover as the news emerged.

Scotland Yard has decided to take no further action over her allegation that she was trafficked to London as a 17-year-old and forced to have sex with Andrew after meeting at Ghislaine Maxwell‘s mews house in the capital when Virginia was 17. 

Officers had looked at the case again after Ms Roberts lodged in a US lawsuit, including claims of ‘rape in the first degree’. But while detectives spoke to Andrew’s £1,000-an-hour team, they did not speak to Virginia, now known as Virginia Giuffre and living in Australia, according to The Sun

The Duke of York’s legal team have said they are ‘not surprised’ that Scotland Yard has abandoned its review of sex abuse allegations surrounding him and Jeffrey Epstein, a source close to the royal told MailOnline today.

The 61-year-old Duke of York, who lives at Royal Lodge in Windsor, was photographed behind the wheel of his Range Rover yesterday as he broke cover following the latest dramatic development in the case last night.  

And a source close to the Duke told MailOnline today: ‘It comes as no surprise that the Met Police have confirmed that, having reviewed the sex assault claims against The Duke for a third time, they are taking no further action.

‘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.’

Andrew is facing a civil lawsuit in the US after Miss Roberts accused him of ‘rape in the first degree’, and said she was abused by him in London after a visit to Tramp nightclub in Mayfair. Andrew has always vehemently denied the claims and his legal team is seeking to get the US case thrown out.

The Metropolitan Police had previously examined the allegations by Miss Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, against the Duke but did not open a full investigation, saying the case was a matter for the US authorities.

After the civil lawsuit was filed in New York, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said she had asked her officers to review the claim, adding: ‘No one is above the law.’

But a Met spokesman said last night: ‘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.’

The decision by the Met to remove the prospect of further action against Prince Andrew comes as:

  • The Duke of York’s siblings – Charles, Edward and Anne – are said to have ‘closed the door’ on the prospect of him making return to public life;
  • Sources say Prince William, who is ‘no fan of Uncle Andrew’, branded him a ‘threat to the royal family’;
  • Prince Andrew is privately preparing to hand over ‘personal documents’ for a civil case filed in New York against him by Virginia Roberts-Giuffre;
  • A US District Judge granted permission for the duke’s lawyers to receive a copy of a confidential agreement between Epstein and Ms Giuffre.

A smiling Prince Andrew is photographed driving near Windsor Castle in Berkshire in his Range Rover this morning

The Duke of York is seen today after Scotland Yard abandoned its review of sex abuse allegations surrounding him

The Duke of York is seen today after Scotland Yard abandoned its review of sex abuse allegations surrounding him

The Duke of York, 61, is facing a civil lawsuit in the US after Miss Roberts accused him of 'rape in the first degree', and said she was abused by him in London after a visit to Tramp nightclub in Mayfair. This photo of Andrew with Miss Roberts is believed to have been taken at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell

The Duke of York, 61, is facing a civil lawsuit in the US after Miss Roberts accused him of ‘rape in the first degree’, and said she was abused by him in London after a visit to Tramp nightclub in Mayfair. This photo of Andrew with Miss Roberts is believed to have been taken at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell 

The document referred to is the civil lawsuit filed by Miss Roberts in a New York court on August 9, in which she accused Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her when she was 17.

The lawsuit specifically mentions being forced to have sex with him at socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in Mayfair.

The force refused to confirm or deny reports that its officers had spoken to Miss Roberts, 38, who lives in Australia and is known by her married name, Giuffre. It was unclear if a formal statement was taken.

Scotland Yard said it ‘continues to liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein’. 

The force has decided to take no further action over her allegation that she was trafficked to London as a 17-year-old and forced to have sex with Andrew. Scotland Yard has also decided to take no further action over claims that billionaire financier Epstein groomed and abused other young women in Britain. Pictured: Andrew with Epstein in Central Park, New York in 2010

The force has decided to take no further action over her allegation that she was trafficked to London as a 17-year-old and forced to have sex with Andrew. Scotland Yard has also decided to take no further action over claims that billionaire financier Epstein groomed and abused other young women in Britain. Pictured: Andrew with Epstein in Central Park, New York in 2010

In her civil lawsuit, Miss Roberts also claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew at Epstein's mansion in New York and on Little St James, his private island in the Caribbean

Epstein

In her civil lawsuit, Virginia Roberts (left) also claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew at the mansion of Epstein (right) in New York and on Little St James, his private island in the Caribbean 

In her civil lawsuit, Miss Roberts also claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew at Epstein’s mansion in New York and on Little St James, his private island in the Caribbean.

Princess Beatrice is pictured loving motherhood as she and husband Edoardo take their three-week-old baby for a walk

A smiling Princess Beatrice appeared to be thoroughly enjoying motherhood as she took her three-week-old baby for a walk in London.

It is the first glimpse of the new mum since Sienna Elizabeth – the Queen‘s 12th great-grandchild – was born. The 33-year-old princess wore a casual outfit that included tracksuit bottoms and a quilted coat, as husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 38, took control of the pushchair during the walk with their friends last week.

The 33-year-old princess wore a casual outfit that included tracksuit bottoms and a quilted coat, as husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 38, took control of the pushchair

The 33-year-old princess wore a casual outfit that included tracksuit bottoms and a quilted coat, as husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 38, took control of the pushchair

It comes as Sarah Ferguson called Princess Beatrice and Eugenie ‘phenomenal mothers’ in an interview.

The Duchess of York, 61, fawned over her children while speaking to Hello magazine, revealing: ‘My children are phenomenal mothers. They were great children but now they’re phenomenal mothers. And now, I have these two exceptional grandchildren all in one year.’

Meanwhile she said her seven-month-old grandson August has started ‘smiling at her’ and appears to find her ‘genuinely funny.’

She added: ‘It’s so funny because when August smiles at me now, because he’s seven and a half months, you actually know he genuinely likes you. It’s not a put-on smile, he genuinely finds me very funny which is quite lucky.’ 

She alleges she was ‘trafficked’ to London in March 2001, where she was photographed next to Andrew in Maxwell’s house.

Andrew has insisted he has ‘no recollection’ of meeting Miss Roberts and has repeatedly denied her account of events.

He told a 2019 Newsnight interview he was at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, Surrey, on the day they supposedly went dancing and had sex.

He has hired a team of well-known US lawyers to fight Miss Roberts’ civil claim in New York, where a preliminary hearing is due to be held next month.

His legal team will seek to have the case thrown out, but have said they will challenge the allegations on a point-by-point basis if the lawsuit is allowed to go ahead.

Miss Roberts has also alleged she has suffered ‘significant emotional and psychological distress and harm’ because of her alleged abuse and is claiming damages which could run into millions of pounds if her case succeeds.

In her lawsuit, she claimed Andrew knew she was a victim of sex trafficking by Epstein, and also knew she was a minor under US law.

The lawsuit alleged she was ‘compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Prince Andrew, and feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority.’

Maxwell is to face a criminal trial next month accused of procuring and trafficking underage girls for Epstein. She denies the allegations.

Andrew stepped back from public life after the disastrous Newsnight interview over his relationship with convicted paedophile Epstein, 66, who was found dead in his prison cell while awaiting trial on trafficking charges in 2019.

It comes as the duke’s siblings have reportedly agreed at a secret summit in January that he should never be allowed to return to royal duties, or any public role.

Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Edward have agreed there is ‘no way back’ for Andrew, according to The Sun on Sunday newspaper.

Prince William also fears the scandal surrounding his uncle is ‘dangerous’ for the Royal Family and could pose a reputational threat to the monarchy.

A source told The Sunday Times: ‘William is no fan of Uncle Andrew.’

Another source told the newspaper: ‘There is no way in the world he’s ever coming back, the family will never let it happen.’

William, Charles and the Queen held separate talks when Andrew stepped back from his royal duties, following his Newsnight interview over Miss Roberts’ allegations.

He has kept a low profile since that interview, although he did speak to television cameras outside All Saints Chapel, Windsor Lodge, after the death of Prince Philip in April. 

Queen, 95, worships in public for first time since Covid pandemic struck as royals close door on Andrew and Scotland Yard quiz Virginia Giuffre over claims he raped and sexually assaulted her at 17

ByChris Jewersand Katie Feehan For Mailonline 

The Queen has been pictured joining the congregation at a church service on the grounds of Windsor Great Park for the first time since the pandemic struck.

Queen Elizabeth has been attending private services throughout the pandemic for the last 18 months but as lockdown restrictions have eased, she attended the service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in the grounds of the nearby Royal Lodge.

The last time the Queen was pictured at the chapel was with late husband Prince Philip in July last year after the lockdown wedding of Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

Dressed in matching mauve coat and hat, the Queen appeared serious while she was driven to the church as legal difficulties facing her son Prince Andrew over allegations he assaulted American Virginia Giuffre.

It has been claimed the Duke of York will not return to public life after Charles, Edward and Anne closed the door on him and William branded him a ‘threat to the royal family’. 

Pictured: Earlier today, the Queen was pictured being driven to a public service for the first time since Covid began

Pictured: Earlier today, the Queen was pictured being driven to a public service for the first time since Covid began

Service attended by the Queen (pictured) took place at the Royal Chapel of All Saints on grounds of Royal Lodge at Windsor

Service attended by the Queen (pictured) took place at the Royal Chapel of All Saints on grounds of Royal Lodge at Windsor

Prince William (pictured left with the Duchess of Cambridge) sees his uncle Prince Andrew as a threat to the Royal Family and will never let him return to public life, according to a new report

The Duke of York (pictured in April after the death of his father, Prince Philip) has come under intense scrutiny for his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffery Epstein, and has been accused of sexually abusing Virginia Giuffre at Epstein's New York home two decades ago

The Duke of York (pictured in April after the death of his father, Prince Philip) has come under intense scrutiny for his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffery Epstein, and has been accused of sexually abusing Virginia Giuffre at Epstein’s New York home two decades ago

Sarah Ferguson ‘is likely to be subpoenaed’ if Prince Andrew fails to get Virginia Roberts’ case thrown out of court in New York 

Relatives, aides and even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson could be forced into courtrooms to answer questions about Prince Andrew should the Duke’s sex abuse case get the green light to go ahead in New York later this month.  

The Duke is privately preparing to hand over ‘personal documents’ in an intrusive process that could see relatives and Royal aides dragged into proceedings, reports the Telegraph

That could include ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who has remained fiercely loyal to the embattled Duke, who is likely to face subpoena if Andrew fails to get his case thrown out. 

Royal insiders fear any such move would be a ‘pretty traumatic’ process that Andrew’s lawyers would only ever enter with ‘due caution’, the Sunday Telegraph reported last week.

The Duke has until October 29 to respond to the civil suit, with a remote hearing scheduled for November 3.

The royal has come under intense scrutiny over the claims and over his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffery Epstein.

Andrew, who is not facing any criminal charges, ‘categorically’ denies Ms Giuffre’s claims against him and is thought to be keen to make a return as a working royal.

However, according to sources close to him, Prince William sees his uncle as a threat to the Royal Family and doesn’t intend to let him return to public life. 

The 39-year-old, who is second in line to the throne, is said to have been involved in crisis talks with his grandmother and father – The Queen and Prince Charles – over the decision to suspend Andrew from public duty. 

It was also reported that Andrew’s siblings – Charles, Anne and Edward – also ruled out his return to public duty at a meeting in January. 

‘There is no way in the world he’s ever coming back, the family will never let it happen,’ a royal source said, according to The Sunday Times. ‘William is no fan of Uncle Andrew,’ another source, a friend of William’s, is reported to have said.

A third source was quoted saying that Prince William is ‘triggered’ by his uncle’s perceived ‘ungracious and ungrateful’ attitude towards his position, which Williams considers ‘a risk’ and a ‘threat to the family.’

‘Any suggestion that there isn’t gratitude for the institution, anything that could lead anyone in the public to think that senior members of the royal family aren’t grateful for their position, [William thinks] is really dangerous,’ the Sunday Times quoted the source as saying.   

MailOnline was told that Buckingham Palace was not commenting on the matter. 

Speaking to the The Sun, a source said: ‘Nine months ago Charles, Anne and Edward had a meeting, a summit, and agreed there was no way back for him.’

It has been reported that Andrew's siblings - Prince Charles (pictured on Tuesday in Scotland), Princess Anne and Prince Edward - also ruled out his return to public duty

It has been reported that Andrew’s siblings – Prince Charles (pictured on Tuesday in Scotland), Princess Anne and Prince Edward – also ruled out his return to public duty

Princess Anne, pictured on Monday

The Queen and Prince Edward picture together on Thursday

Speaking the The Sun , a source said: ‘Nine months ago Charles, Anne (pictured left) and Edward (pictured with The Queen, right) had a meeting, a summit, and agreed there was no way back for him’

Sussexes’ no-show at Diana party

A party to honour the life of Diana, Princess of Wales will not be attended by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it was revealed yesterday.

The couple and their children Archie, two, and four-month-old Lilibet Diana will not return to Britain for the celebration at Kensington Palace on October 19.

Harry, 37, was expected to join brother William at the event and his absence will be seen as another sign of the rift between them.

The party was postponed from July 1, which would have been Diana’s 60th birthday, by Covid restrictions although the brothers did made a brief appearance together then to unveil a statue of their mother.

Harry had been expected to return for the rescheduled party but a spokesman for the Sussexes has reportedly confirmed he will not attend. Kensington Palace declined to comment.

 

Virginia Roberts, who now goes by her married name of Giuffre, was last night reported to have been interviewed by officers after she filed a civil lawsuit in the US claiming that she was forced to have sex with the Prince on three separate occasions by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The Mail on Sunday revealed earlier this year that Ms Giuffre had launched legal action in the US. Andrew, 61, has always vehemently denied her claims and any wrongdoing.

According to The Sunday Times, detectives recently quizzed Ms Giuffre after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick warned that ‘no one is above the law’.

The move could pave the way for a criminal investigation into the claims.

Ms Giuffre claims she was ‘trafficked’ to the duke in March 2001 after being flown to London by Epstein and his alleged ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell. 

A photograph of Andrew, Ms Giuffre and Ms Maxwell, taken in the socialite’s mews house that night, was first published by The Mail on Sunday.

During his infamous interview with the BBC’s Newsnight in 2019, Andrew denied the claims, saying that he had been at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, Surrey, that day.

His lawyers accepted that the Prince had been ‘served’ with the civil suit on September 21, after Ms Giuffre’s team spent weeks trying to deliver it to him.

Last night, a Met spokesman said: ‘We would not discuss who we may or may not have spoken to as part of any enquiry.’

The development could lead to the Met opening a criminal investigation of Ms Giuffre’s claims that have been consistently and strenuously denied by the Duke.

The reports comes two days after it was announced that Andrew‘s legal team will be allowed to review a previously secret settlement which his lawyers hope will shield him from a sex abuse lawsuit in the US.

A US District Judge on Wednesday granted permission for the Duke of York’s lawyers to receive a copy of a confidential agreement between Epstein and Ms Giuffre. 

Ms Giuffre (pictured) is launching a US civil case against Prince Andrew, accusing him of sexually abusing a woman two decades ago, when she was underage

Ms Giuffre (pictured) is launching a US civil case against Prince Andrew, accusing him of sexually abusing a woman two decades ago, when she was underage

Ms Giuffre (allegedly pictured here in 2001 with Prince Andrew) is accusing the prince of having sex with her knowing she had been trafficked by Epstein and she was underage. She alleged this took place at the London home of Epstein's longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell

Ms Giuffre (allegedly pictured here in 2001 with Prince Andrew) is accusing the prince of having sex with her knowing she had been trafficked by Epstein and she was underage. She alleged this took place at the London home of Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell 

Rich backers send value of Harry firm to £3bn

By Calum Muirhead City Correspondent

The value of the California-based mental health start-up that hired Prince Harry has topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players.

BetterUp, which took on the Duke of Sussex as ‘chief impact officer’ in March, has raised £220million from investors, valuing the company at around £3.4billion.

One of the leaders of the funding round was Iconiq Capital, a secretive investment firm which has managed the money of tech billionaires including Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Other backers include Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund connected to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed. BetterUp offers companies coaching regimes for their employees on topics ranging from mental fitness to nutrition and parenting. Its app costs around £181 per month for each user.

Customers include Google, the Hilton hotel chain and movie studio Warner Bros. BetterUp said the funding boost will help its expansion and ‘fuel new product innovation’.

The company recently announced plans to open a London office and hire 75 staff.

Chief executive and co-founder Alexi Robichaux said: ‘This funding will continue to accelerate our mission to bring the most comprehensive and powerful suite of tools to individuals and help them thrive, unlock their peak performance and live with purpose and clarity.’

The latest funding round takes the total amount the firm has raised to £441million and follows a similar £92million injection in February.

While Harry receives a salary from BetterUp, the firm has not disclosed how much he is paid or if he owns shares or stock options.

The prince and Meghan have netted several lucrative deals since their move to California. It was revealed last year they had signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix for content including documentaries, films and children’s programmes.

They also announced a podcasting deal with Spotify to produce content. Both contracts are said to be worth tens of millions of dollars. 

Ms Giuffre, who has also accused Epstein of abuse, signed a settlement deal with the financier in 2009 as part of a Florida state case – to which the duke was not a party.

The deal between her and Esptein, who died in his jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges, has remained confidential.

Epstein’s estate had agreed to let Prince Andrew’s legal team review the legal document, but court approval was needed. 

At a hearing in Manhatten last week, District Judge Loretta Preska granted the approval. 

At a hearing last month, Andrew Brettler, a lawyer for the prince, told the judge overseeing Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit that he believed the agreement ‘absolves our client from any and all liability.’ 

During the first pre-trial hearing of the case last month, he said: ‘There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability.’ 

However, David Boies, one of the lawyers representing Ms Giuffre, said in a court filing last month that he believed the settlement was ‘irrelevant’ to her case against the prince.

He said: ‘Although we believe that the release is irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew, now that service has been accepted and the case is proceeding to a determination on the merits, we believe that counsel for Prince Andrew have a right to review the release and to make whatever arguments they believe appropriate based on it.’ 

Mr Brettler said in an email he expects to receive the agreement soon from Ms Giuffre’s lawyers. 

Ms Giuffre is accusing the prince of having sex with her knowing she had been trafficked by Epstein and she was underage.

She alleged this took place at the London home of Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell.

She also said the prince abused her at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan, and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

She claims she was trafficked by Epstein, the duke’s former friend, to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law. 

She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars. 

Andrew faces an October 29 deadline to formally respond to Giuffre’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Epstein, a registered sex offender, killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

David Boies (pictured), one of the lawyers representing Ms Giuffre, said in a court filing last month that he believed the settlement was 'irrelevant' to her case against the prince.

At a hearing last month, Andrew Brettler (pictured), a lawyer for the prince, told the judge overseeing Ms Giuffre's lawsuit that he believed the agreement 'absolves our client from any and all liability.'

At a hearing last month, Andrew Brettler (pictured right), a lawyer for the prince, told the judge overseeing Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit that he believed the agreement ‘absolves our client from any and all liability.’  However, David Boies (pictured left), one of the lawyers representing Ms Giuffre, said in a court filing last month that he believed the settlement was ‘irrelevant’ to her case against the prince.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to helping recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein to abuse. Her trial in Manhattan is scheduled for November 29. 

It comes as it was reported last week that relatives, aides and even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson could be forced into courtrooms to answer questions about Prince Andrew should the Duke’s sex abuse case get the green light to go ahead in New York later this month. 

The Duke is privately preparing to hand over ‘personal documents’ in an intrusive process that could see relatives and Royal aides dragged into proceedings, reports the Telegraph

That could include ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who has remained fiercely loyal to the embattled Duke, who is likely to face subpoena if Andrew fails to get his case thrown out. 

Prince Andrew, 61, is privately preparing to hand over 'personal documents' in an intrusive process that could see relatives, Royal aides and even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson dragged into his legal proceedings. Pictured together in 2019

Prince Andrew, 61, is privately preparing to hand over ‘personal documents’ in an intrusive process that could see relatives, Royal aides and even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson dragged into his legal proceedings. Pictured together in 2019

The Queen (pictured, at the Balmoral Cricket Pavilion in Scotland yesterday) is spending millions of pounds funding Prince Andrew's fight against sex abuse allegations, reports say

The Duke of York is being sued in New York by Virginia Giuffre, now 38, who claims he sexually abused her on three separate occasions when she was 17 — in London , New York and on billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein 's Caribbean island

The Queen (pictured left, at the Balmoral Cricket Pavilion in Scotland yesterday) is spending millions of pounds funding Prince Andrew’s (right) fight against sex abuse allegations, reports say

Royal insiders fear any such move would be a ‘pretty traumatic’ process that Andrew’s lawyers would only ever enter with ‘due caution’, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

The Duke has until October 29 to respond to the civil suit, with a remote hearing scheduled for November 3.

The news comes after one of the most dramatic cases of royal redemption after Prince’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson accompanied him to Balmoral in August as senior members of the Royal Family met for the first time since the civil suit was filed.

The Duchess has also said she is ‘100 per cent’ certain that Andrew is telling the truth about his part in the scandal surrounding convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

She told the Financial Times: ‘I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.’

When asked why she was sure of his probity, she replied: ‘No question. I know everything about him. I think he is an extraordinary person.’ 

The news comes as it was revealed the Queen is spending millions of pounds funding Prince Andrew‘s fight against sex abuse allegations.

Royal courtiers are said to expect the final legal bill to run into millions as the civil case against Andrew lingers for months or even yearsAnd a potential settlement or damages payout would cost millions more on top of the overall bill.


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