06 January 2024

King to ‘withdraw private funding’ for Andrew’s security at Royal Lodge

06 January 2024

The King is preparing to withdraw private funding for the security operation at the Duke of York’s home, according to reports.

Pressure is growing on Andrew as the unsealing of hundreds of pages of court documents connected to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal continues apace.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but The Telegraph said Andrew will have to fund the multi-million pound security costs at Royal Lodge himself if he wants to stay in the 30-room mansion in Windsor Great Park.

The move will be seen as the monarch distancing himself publicly from his younger brother, who less than two weeks ago walked to church with the royal family on Christmas Day.

The latest batch of legal papers detailed how Epstein’s former housekeeper claimed Andrew had daily massages when he spent “weeks” at the paedophile financier’s Florida home.

Juan Alessi, who worked at Epstein’s Palm Beach residence, said both Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, were friends with Epstein and the now convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

The duke greeted well-wishers outside church in Sandringham, Norfolk on December 25, with Sarah back in the royal fold and at his side.

But as the New Year began, previous allegations Andrew sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre three times when she was 17 including during an orgy resurfaced in newly-published court documents.

He strenuously denies the claims, and in 2022 paid millions to Ms Giuffre to settle a civil case out of court, saying he never met her.

The Metropolitan Police said no new investigation has been launched, but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, said where “credible” accusations are made they should be investigated.

Republic – the anti-monarchist group – reported the duke to Scotland Yard and is calling for the accusations to be properly investigated in the UK.

During his video-taped interview under oath in 2009, Mr Alessi was questioned on the duke’s relationship with Maxwell and Epstein.

Lawyer Katherine Ezell asked whether Andrew and Sarah ever had massages at the Florida home.

Mr Alessi replied: “Prince Andrew did.

“I think Sarah was there only once and for a short time. I don’t think she slept in there. I cannot remember.

“I think she was visiting Wellington and she came to the house and we met her.

“But Prince Andrew, yes, Prince Andrew spent weeks with us.”

Ms Ezell then asked: “Where would he sleep?”

Mr Alessi said: “In the main room, the main guest bedroom. That was the blue room.”

The lawyer then said: “And, so, when he would come and stay, during that time would he frequently have massages?

Mr Alessi replied: “I would say, daily massages.”

In a further interview under oath by an Epstein employee, who is labelled only as “the witness” in the documents, they claimed Maxwell took the paedophile financier to England “to introduce him to royalty”.

The staff member said there were “many pictures” of the duke with Epstein in the property they worked at.

They also said they never saw the duke visit the property, but “he called”.

In a resurfaced video-taped interview with Maxwell, the disgraced socialite said she did not know how Epstein met the duke and she insisted she did not introduce them.

Maxwell admitted, however, that there was a Duke of York puppet in Epstein’s New York apartment.

Andrew was accused by Johanna Sjoberg of groping her breast while posing with what is reported to have been a Spitting Image puppet of himself in Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2001.

Maxwell said she did not recollect putting the hand of the caricature on Ms Sjoberg’s breast.

“There was a puppet – not a puppet – there was a – I don’t know how would you describe it really… a caricature of Prince Andrew that was in Jeffrey’s home,” she said.

A US judge ordered hundreds of documents to be unsealed as part of Ms Giuffre’s previously settled civil claim against Maxwell, which was filed in 2015.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in New York, in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide.

It was previously reported the duke was offered the much smaller Frogmore Cottage, which used to be home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in a bid to relocate him from Royal Lodge.

But the duke was said to have signed a 75-year lease on the mansion in 2003.

Andrew attended the King and Queen’s coronation in May, despite stepping down from public life in 2019 over his friendship with Epstein.

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