'I let the side down,' says duke about Epstein stay

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This will be the first time Prince Andrew has spoken about the controversy in an interview, and BBC's Sam McAlister says there are no softball questions.

Prince Andrew has spoken publicly for the first time about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, suggesting he believed staying with the convicted sex offender was the "honourable" thing to do.

While Andrew expressed remorse in the interview over accepting Epstein's invitation to stay with him, he denied allegations in a legal filing that Epstein lent one of his accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, to him for sex on several occasions when she was 17.

The Prince has been embarrassed by a widely reproduced photograph of him with his arm wrapped around the waist of Ms Giuffre.

Andrew, 59, is the second son of Queen Elizabeth.

Prince Andrew has maintained that he was not aware of Epstein's behavior, despite their relationship continuing after the financier pled guilty to soliciting underage sex in 2008.

He has also previously acknowledged he made a mistake after a photograph of him with Epstein in NY was published in a British newspaper in December 2010.

The Duke of York met Epstein after he was released from prison in 2010, and has admitted to spending time with the billionaire more than once a year, and staying in "a number of his residences". She said she had sex with him again in NY and on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean. While the death has been ruled a suicide, there have been claims that Epstein was murdered.

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She says Epstein flew her around the world on his private planes to have sex with powerful men, and that she had sexual encounters with Andrew in London and NY and in the US Virgin Islands when she was 18.

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (L) and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) attend the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 9, 2019.

The same statement went on to add, "His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent".

BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote on Saturday, "There is of course a lot more to come - so far we've had two short excerpts from an hour-long interview".

"Andrew is a true+real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness + goodness".

Prince Andrew denies any involvement in the sex ring, saying he was "appalled" by reports of Epstein's actions, and claiming a now infamous photo of he and Ms Giuffre on the night of one of the alleged meetings is a photoshopped fake.

Epstein - who confronted 45 years in jail - had entered a "now not responsible" plea when he regarded sooner than judges on July 8.