Prince Andrew‘s Pizza Express ‘alibi’ is in tatters following a bombshell Daily Mail investigation.
In the first instalment of an exclusive four-part series we can reveal astonishing details about the day he is alleged to have slept with his teenage sex accuser Virginia Roberts.
- Princess Beatrice has ‘absolutely no recollection’ of the Pizza Express birthday party her father has claimed to have attended;
- The family who hosted the party confirmed Beatrice came but cannot recall what happened and whether the prince was there;
- According to a family diary, the Duke of York had booked a home manicure on the afternoon he says he dropped Beatrice, then aged 12, at the party in Woking, Surrey;
- Sources said the prince had a ‘very vague’ recollection of waiting under a bridge near Pizza Express to collect his daughter;
- A royal protection officer said to have been on duty that weekend, and who could possibly support his alibi, has died;
- Housekeepers on duty at the prince’s home – Sunninghill Park, Ascot – ‘can’t remember’ his movements on the weekend in question;
- Concerns also emerged over the accuracy of Miss Roberts’ claim that she went clubbing in London with Andrew that evening and over her description of a bath tub in which she says they had sex;
- An exclusive through-the-keyhole view shows the bathroom in Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia;
- The Duchess of York was in the United States promoting chinaware to pay off her huge personal debts when Andrew is alleged to have bedded Miss Roberts.
Prince Andrew (left), Virginia Roberts, aged 17, (centre) and Ghislaine Maxwell (right) at Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in London, Britain on March 13 2001
Our devastating revelations follow an investigation that has seen us obtain testimony from new witnesses, see sensitive documents, learn the contents of diaries and interview high-level sources.
Our inquiries have taken us from London to New York, Boston, Florida, the US Virgin Islands, South Africa and Australia.
The series will also examine the precision of some of Miss Roberts’ sensational allegations against the duke, which have dogged him for nearly ten years since the Mail on Sunday published a picture of the pair together.
It was allegedly taken in British socialite Miss Maxwell’s home on March 10, 2001.
In a car crash interview with the BBC, the Queen’s second son rejected allegations made by Miss Roberts that they danced together at celebrity night spot Tramp in central London before having sex.
His American accuser alleges they had sex three times in all – firstly in London, then in New York and finally in the Caribbean.
Andrew vehemently denies her claims.
The prince’s extraordinary Pizza Express alibi prompted ridicule around the world last November.
Princess Beatrice with her parents the Duke and Duchess of York, starting at her new school St George’s, Ascot, September 6, 2000
In the interview with Emily Maitlis of Newsnight, Andrew denied having sex with Miss Roberts at Miss Maxwell’s home.
He said it could not have happened because he spent the day with his daughter.
‘I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon,’ he said. When asked why he would remember a meal at Pizza Express 18 years later, he said: ‘Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do … I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly.
‘As soon as somebody reminded me of it, I went, ‘Oh yes, I remember that’.’
In June it was claimed that the prince was in a ‘Mexican standoff’ with US prosecutors.
He was said to be ‘utterly bewildered’ after he was accused of refusing to be interviewed by the Epstein investigators.
Friends said they were mystified by claims Andrew refused to cooperate with the probe – yet stopped short of denying it was true.
Princess Beatrice has ‘absolutely no recollection’ of the Pizza Express birthday party her father has claimed to have attended at Pizza Express, Woking (pictured)
Duke of York, speaking about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis
US prosecutor Geoffrey Berman said the prince had ‘repeatedly declined’ a request to be interviewed and had ‘unequivocally’ stated he would not come in for one. But Andrew’s London lawyers say he offered to provide a statement.
The prince appeared to be at loggerheads with the Americans because they wanted a face-to-face interview, whereas he wanted to provide evidence in writing.
In July the prosecutors urged Andrew to ‘talk to us’ after the FBI arrested Miss Maxwell on child sex charges.
Their call came after they pounced on the British socialite in a dawn raid on her hideaway in New Hampshire. Hours later she appeared in court charged with the sordid abuse of girls as young as 14, including one in London. Last night the US Department of Justice declined to answers a series of questions from the Daily Mail.
These included whether it had reached agreement with Prince Andrew’s legal team over the terms of taking testimony from him and whether it had obtained the original – rather than a copy – of the widely publicised picture purporting to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Miss Roberts.The Mail also asked representatives of Andrew a series of questions about the London allegations made by Miss Roberts.
A spokesman for the duke said: ‘It would not be appropriate to comment on any of these matters.’ A friend said: ‘The duke has already publicly stated he has no recollection of meeting Virginia Roberts. Nor has he any recollection of dining in a Chinese restaurant or attending Tramp on the night in question.
‘It is also well known amongst the duke’s circle of friends and his staff that he has been teetotal his entire adult life.’
A source close to the duke added: ‘In the Buckingham Palace statement made on 19th August 2019 the Duke expressed deep concern for the survivors of Jeffrey Epstein and hoped that they could find some resolution.
‘It is a matter of deep regret to the Duke that he did not reiterate that empathy for the survivors during his Newsnight interview, which was clearly a mistake.’
Miss Roberts’ representatives in New York did not respond to repeated requests to comment on a series of questions from the Mail.
Inside the house where Virginia Roberts and Prince Andrew had ‘sex in the bath’ – so is the tub REALLY too small for two people to fit like Ghislaine Maxwell claims?
Four doors opened onto the first-floor landing of Ghislaine Maxwell’s London pied-a-terre. Viewed from the top of the stairs to the ground floor, the door on the right led into a master bedroom.
That is where Epstein and Maxwell slept together that Saturday night, a source claims. The door on the left (against which the Duke and Miss Roberts are seen in the photograph) led to the study-cum-second bedroom. That was Miss Roberts’s room.
Directly opposite the top of the stairs were two further doors; an airing cupboard and the entrance to the bathroom. The latter was ‘where I led (the Duke)’, Miss Roberts recalled in the manuscript of her memoir. ‘It was a beige marble tiled floor with porcelain Victorian-style bathtub in the middle of the room and nowhere near the size of Jeffrey’s residences.’
She wrote: ‘I turned on the taps for the tub and the heat from the water began to steam up the small room . . . Trying to do the best of my youthfulness to try and act seductive, I gradually began to strip off my clothing, piece by piece . . . He loved every second of it as I went over to where he was waiting and watching, then began to undress him . . . We kissed and touched each other before submersing into the hot water, where we both continued to re-enact foreplay. He was adorning (sic) my young body, particularly my feet . . . It wasn’t hard to get him wound up to the point where he just wanted to have the rest of me.’
The explosive conclusion to this encounter took place in her ‘bedchamber’, she said. But it is the bathroom and, in particular, the bath and its dimensions, that has been the focus of legal interest.
Under oath during Miss Roberts’ defamation action against her, Maxwell said: ‘The tub is too small for any type of activity whatsoever.’
Compact: The layout of Ghislaine Maxwell’s London mews house, showing the cramped bathroom, and Andrew in the house with Virginia Roberts and Maxwell
In his book Relentless Pursuit, Miss Roberts’ lawyer Brad Edwards wrote that the bath was discussed when he met Epstein in a Starbucks in Boca Raton, Florida, in 2015. The tycoon had contacted him out of the blue.
He claimed that Epstein had said to him: ‘If I could show you how small Ghislaine’s tub was in that apartment, it would be tough for two people to fit in there.’
Edwards said he dismissed the comment, suggesting it was a weak legal point to force. But other lawyers have tried. Are trying.
The Mail understands that Miss Roberts’ legal team has not had access to the disputed bathroom. But two members of Maxwell’s legal team — she still owns the property — have climbed into the bath together, fully clothed, to test the physical possibility of an assignation such as that described in Miss Roberts’ account.
They claimed not to be persuaded, a source said.
BATH CRAMMED INTO AN ALCOVE
So the Mail conducted our own inquiries. We have found a floorplan of the bathroom, taken from a 1987 planning application. We have also had access to much more recent images of the room.
There are two observations. One is that the bathroom is indeed ‘small’, as both sides agree; cramped, if one wished to perform anything other than solo ablutions.
The second? There is not a free-standing Victorian bath tub in the middle of the room, as described by Miss Roberts, in either iteration of the bathroom designs.
The historic plan shows a ‘standard size’ — 5ft 6in by 2ft 4in — alcove bath, boxed in on two sides by walls and on a third by the back of the airing cupboard.
The remaining 36 sq ft is largely taken up by a bidet, a lavatory and large sink. It is very bijou.
The recent images show almost the same layout. A sink still faces the door, a shower stall has replaced the bidet on the left, next to a lavatory. An alcove bath is on the right.
We have also received testimony from an old acquaintance of Maxwell’s who said: ‘I have visited the property on several occasions over the years. Even by the standards of a small mews house, the bathroom would be described as compact. There is no more than a couple of inches between the lavatory, sink and bath . . . to manoeuvre.’
She said that others who had regularly visited the property over the past two decades all agreed that ‘no changes have taken place to (the bathroom’s) essential layout.’
THE DEAD ‘KEY WITNESS’
Aside from his own poor memory, the Duke’s fundamental problem in proving his innocence of the March 10 allegations is this: of the four sources who should be best able to provide an alternative eyewitness account of that evening, one — Epstein — was a convicted paedophile who has since committed suicide, while another — Maxwell — is on remand in a U.S. prison facing charges of perjury and assisting the tycoon in sex-trafficking, charges that she denies.
But what of the Duke’s duty police bodyguards for that night? It was their job not only to observe the Duke’s movements, but to log them for the official record.
Sources close to the Duke say it has been difficult to identify the relevant personal protection officers (PPOs) from 2001. This has been blamed variously on ‘chaotic Met Police records’ and the events taking place so long ago, in what was still, largely, an analogue era.
But a ‘breakthrough’ of sorts has been achieved. When he was at home at Sunninghill Park on a weekend evening, the Duke was protected by one rather than two PPOs, sources claim.
They say the relevant PPO has now been identified. The Mail has been given a name. It has also been confirmed to us by a former senior colleague that this officer has since died. If so, he has taken the Duke’s alibi to the grave — if such an alibi would have been provided.
The fourth first-hand eyewitnesses that night were the domestic staff at Sunninghill.
Through intermediaries, the Mail was told by the duty housekeeper: ‘I worked at Sunninghill Park the weekend of March 10, 2001, with (name withheld) as butler.
‘My duties were housekeeping and help with the Princesses as required. The Duchess and Duke had a rule that one parent was present if the other had to be away. (The butler) and I both helped. I went home after the children’s baths, (the butler) catch (sic) a train to London. The nanny would return for duty on Mon morn’.
But, crucially, the housekeeper cannot remember whether this bath night took place on the Saturday (the evening in question) or Sunday — or whether the Duke was home on both nights.
After all, it was a long time ago, she said. Indeed it was. But the fact is that the Duke of York has faced these specific allegations for almost a decade now.
His only defence against Miss Roberts’ detailed accusations remains blunt denial. He has not been able to offer up a credible and corroborated alternative narrative. There has also been a corporate loss of memory as far as those around him are concerned. One is minded of his horribly complacent remark at the end of his Newsnight interview. ‘I think you’ve dragged out of me most of what is required,’ he said.
That is simply not the case. And in Part Two of this series on Monday, the Mail will fill in more of the holes in the royal narrative — including a confession that explodes another of his Newsnight claims altogether.