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Prince Andrew's accuser rebukes royal family as queen prepares to host Trump for NATO summit

Mercury News — Martha Ross Mercury News

Dec. 03-- Dec. 3--In her highly anticipated interview with the BBC, Virginia Roberts Giuffre added some disturbing new details to her longstanding allegations that multimillionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her for sex with Prince Andrew when she was a teenager.

Giuffre's interview, which aired Monday night in the U.K., also comes at a particularly sensitive time for the British royal family -- when Andrew's friendship with Epstein has embroiled the monarchy in its biggest scandal in decades.

"I implore the people in the U.K. to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK," said the Sacramento-born Giuffre, who is the most well-known of Epstein's "sex slaves."

"This is a story of being trafficked," said Giuffre, now 35. "This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys' royalty."

In the interview, Giuffre also said she had been "abused" by a member of the British royal family, which left her believing, "These powerful people were my chains."

Unfortunately for the royal family, such sentiments are shared by a growing number of Britons who have begun to revisit age-old questions about the monarchy's relevance, especially in the wake of Andrew's own disastrous BBC interview about his association with Epstein.

Giuffre's interview also aired the night before Queen Elizabeth and a contingent of royal family members are due to host President Donald Trump and other world leaders for a reception Tuesday night at Buckingham Palace as part of the 2019 NATO summit.

Complicating matters is the fact that Trump, like Andrew, has faced questions about his one-time friendship with Epstein, who reportedly died by suicide Aug. 10 in a Manhattan jail, where he was awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges.

Trump was Epstein's neighbor in Palm Beach. The former real estate mogul and reality TV star famously told New York magazine in 2002 that the financier was "a lot of fun to be with" -- in part, Trump said, because "he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."

Optics-wise, it did neither Trump nor Andrew much good to be photographed, having a friendly time together, during the president's last visit to London in June.

During that June visit, the Duke of York played guide for the president and First Lady Melania Trump's tour of Buckingham Palace's collection of historic American artifacts. A smiling Andrew also escorted the president and Melania Trump to Westminster Abbey to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

This visit occurred about a month before Epstein's arrest. For the NATO summit reception Tuesday, Andrew most definitely will not be present.

The queen, Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, and Kate Middleton will be there. So will Andrew's other siblings: Princess Anne and Prince Edward. Prince William, second in line to the throne, won't be there because he is on a trip to the Middle East, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are on their six-week holiday vacation.

A lot has changed since Trump's June visit. That includes Andrew's BBC interview last month, which was such a public relations debacle that the queen asked him to step down from his royal duties.

The interview, among other things, confirmed the widely held view that the queen's 59-year-old son is dim, arrogant and out of touch.

People were especially put off by the lack of sympathy the duke showed to Epstein's many victims and by his bizarre efforts to defend himself. Andrew's responses left people with the impression that he was being dishonest in his claims that he never had sex with Giuffre or that he didn't know about Epstein's abuse of underaged girls.

The royal family also is facing questions about the source of Andrew's lavish lifestyle, his business dealings and the way the queen allowed her second son to continue to do taxpayer-funded work on her behalf up until recently. Epstein's July arrest and Aug. 10 death opened up new lines of inquiry from Epstein's victims and U.S. authorities related to the rich and powerful people who may have been the financier's accomplices. But Andrew continued to be showcased at various royal events, including the Remembrance Day events last month.

In her BBC interview, Giuffre told reporter Darragh Macintyre that she first met Andrew in 2001, when she was 17. She said Epstein flew her to London, specifically with the idea of having her meet Andrew. She said Andrew, Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell -- Andrew's longtime socialite friend and Epstein's former girlfriend -- took her to the Tramp nightclub.

At Tramp, Giuffre said the group went into the VIP section and Andrew asked her to dance. In addition to the many disparaging qualities people have pinned on Andrew, Giuffre called him, "the most hideous dancer I've ever seen in my life."

She said: "I mean it was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me, like his sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere I was just like grossed out from it but I knew I had to keep him happy because that's what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would have expected from me."

Guiffre alleged that after they left the club, Maxwell told her "to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that just made me sick."

The BBC interviewed Giuffre before Andrew gave his interview, in which he tried to dispute her claim they met, danced at the club or had sex by saying he had a medical condition that prevented him from sweating. In the interview, Andrew also tried to suggest that someone faked the widely shared photo that shows him and Giuffre together on that night in 2001 when she alleges they first had sex.

But after Andrew's interview, the BBC checked back in with Giuffre to see if she wanted to respond to his claims about the photo being faked or about about anything else.

"The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses," Giuffre said. "Like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored, or, uh, he came to New York (in 2010) to break up with Jeffrey Epstein. I mean come on I'm calling B.S. on this, because that's what it is."

"He knows what happened," she continued. "I know what happened, and there's only one of us telling the truth, and I know that's me."

This story has been updated to include additional comments for Virginia Roberts Giuffre's interview with BBC.

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