Prince Andrew, Duke of York, addressed the world in a speech on Thursday, Jan. 22, vehemently denying allegations about having sexual relations with an underage American girl in 2001, according to USA Today. The allegations emerged about two weeks previously in a long-running Florida lawsuit.
Virginia Roberts, a 31-year-old mother of three, claims she was working as a sex slave for financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when she had three sexual encounters with the prince. She was 17 at the time, according to CNN.
Earlier this month, Buckingham Palace issued a statement, which said, “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York [Andrew] had any form of sexual contact or relationship [with Roberts]. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Epstein is a friend of the prince’s, according to the BBC, and has bailed out his family several times when they were having money problems.
In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Italy, Prince Andrew said, “Firstly, I think I must, want, for the record to refer to the events that have taken place in the last three weeks. And I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements which have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace.”
After Prince Andrew’s speech, Roberts’ lawyer filed more documents detailing the three alleged trysts. He declared Roberts was “miffed” by his denial of the accusations, according to USA Today.
According to the BBC, Roberts claims she first met Andrews at a nightclub in 2001. Epstein told Roberts she was going to meet “a major prince,” and that whatever Andrews wanted, Roberts was to “make sure [the Prince] got.”
In a letter sent to Buckingham Palace, Roberts’ lawyers Paul Cassell and Bradley Edwards asked to interview Prince Andrews under oath regarding the encounters. According to CNN, the letter includes a picture taken of the prince and Roberts in 2001, the time of the alleged encounters.
Roberts first named the prince in a civil motion filed on Dec. 30 in the U.S. District Court in southern Florida, according to the BBC, in which she claims she was forced to have sexual encounters with several men. She is referred to as Jane Doe 3 in the legal proceedings.
Prince Andrew’s immediate family is standing in solidarity with him through the accusations, including the prince’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
According to USA Today, Ferguson described her ex-husband as a “humongously good man,” the “best ex-husband ever” and the “best father” to their children, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.
“I want to stand by him because I know what it feels like to have salacious lies made up about you,” she declared. “These are shockingly accusatory allegations, I don’t think it’s right, it’s defamation of his character.”
Prince Andrews is fifth in line for the British throne and the younger brother of Prince Charles, who is next in line.
Editor’s Note: Information from the BBC, CNN and USA Today was used in this report.