Jeffrey Epstein’s child pimp Ghislaine Maxwell secretly met with Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace just two weeks after Epstein was placed under investigation by police for operating an international child sex trafficking network.
The Duke of York met with Maxwell at his private palace quarters on 6 June, according to reports.
The Duke admitted during his recent BBC Newsnight interview that he met with Ms Maxwell during the summer, but denied discussing Epstein.
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Inews.co.uk reports: The FBI wants to quiz Ms Maxwell, 57, accused of being Epstein’s pimp who introduced Andrew to “sex slave” Virginia Roberts, over her links with the serial sex trafficker. She has not been seen since August — five days after Epstein killed himself in prison.
A source told The Sun on Sunday: “The Duke and Ghislaine met at the Palace. She brought four other people with her. They were all smartly dressed and looked very official, very serious and business-like. There was no way it was a social occasion. They stayed for about two hours.
“Looking back now it seems very likely they would have been discussing the fallout from Epstein’s misdemeanours and what they planned to do about it.”
Andrew told BBC Newsnight last Saturday that he last saw Ms Maxwell, who he has known since the 1990s, when “she was over for a (motoring) rally”. The last known picture of her is at a party for the car rally in Geneva on 8 June.
The revelation is further embarrassment for the Queen, who has struggled to contain the fallout from this month’s “car crash” Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis over his links with Epstein. It emerged over the weekend that, contrary to reports, she never gave her approval for the television interview.
Prince Andrew’s daughter Princess Beatrice and former wife Sarah Ferguson reportedly pressed him to do the interview in the hopes of ending speculation surrounding his friendship with the disgraced billionaire.
The Queen is said to be “privately supportive” of Andrew but “deeply frustrated” that the scandal is overshadowing the work of the rest of the family. She has cancelled a party she had planned to host for Prince Andrew and his charities to mark his 60th birthday in February and is understood to be intending to hold only a small family dinner.
In February the US Department of Justice said it was reopening its investigation into Epstein’s plea bargain in 2008. The billionaire received an 18-month jail spell after admitting a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution.
The FBI has said it wants to interview Prince Andrew over his connection to Epstein and are understood to be examining ways to interview him in Britain through the US justice department, which oversees the Bureau.
The move comes as the Duke of York is preparing to give up all his charity commitments in a sign that he is unlikely ever to resume royal duties. In addition, American officials are examining procedures for a formal FBI interview with Andrew in Britain. A source close to the duke said he would be “happy to co-operate”.
More than 20 charities have already severed ties with the Duke and he is expected to resign from up to 160 more within days.
Penny Junor, the royal author, said: “He’s absolutely finished. If Andrew is no longer representing or supporting the monarch in any capacity, or doing good charitably, what’s the point of him?”
A spokesman for the Duke of York said he would not comment on “private matters”.