Prince Andrew, Duke of York, second oldest son of the queen of Great Britain, has been accused of repeatedly sleeping with an underage sex-slave provided by a Florida-based investment banker and convicted sex offender, and representatives of the English crown are scurrying to respond to the allegations.
Buckingham Palace officials issued a delicately worded denial Friday to the accusations in a Florida lawsuit, saying that "any suggestion of impropriety with under age minors is categorically untrue."
The allegations arose out of litigation "brought by women who say they were exploited by Jeffrey Epstein, a multi-millionaire convicted of soliciting sex with an underage girl after a plea deal," the Guardian reports:
The woman, who filed the motion anonymously, alleges that between 1999 and 2002 she was repeatedly sexually abused by Epstein who, she also alleges, loaned her out to rich and influential men around the world.
The document – a motion to expand an ongoing lawsuit relating to prosecutors' handling of Epstein's case with two new plaintiffs – alleges that the woman "was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor" in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein.
Though he is not specifically named in the document, allegations regarding Andrew and the woman, who was reportedly 17 at the time, are not entirely new: Prince Andrew was forced to deny them in an infamous 2011 Vanity Fair article detailing Epstein's apparent exploits at his Palm Beach estate.
Another Epstein friend who is named in the lawsuit, Harvard law professor and celebrity attorney Alan Dershowitz, is accused of having sex with the woman when she was underage and "of witnessing the abuse of other minors," the Guardian reports. Dershowitz threatened to have the woman's attorneys disbarred.
"There is no more strenuous denial than the one I am giving," Dershowitz told the Guardian. "I never met her. I don't know her. I have never had sex with an underage person."
Update: An astute commenter points out that I incorrectly referred to Andrew as second in the line of British succession. But his older brother Charles had some kids with Lady Di, and one of those kids has a brood now, so Andrew has been forced way down on the depth chart. This has been your daily lesson in comparative politics.
[Photo credit: AP Images]