- Itinerary for Prince Andrew’s working visit to New York in April 2001 is revealed
- Alleged encounter with Duke and Virginia Roberts, age 17, happened in New York
- Bombshell royal documents show he had three-hour window for ‘private time’
Monday, April 9, 2001, saw a day of extreme weather across New York City. Lowering skies, thunder, lightning and hailstones ‘the size of dimes’, one observer noted.
The limousine of his choice was waiting at JFK airport to whisk His Royal Highness to Her Majesty’s Consul General’s palatial residence, just yards from Central Park. This would be the Duke’s sleeping quarters for the first night of a three-day working visit to the United States’ eastern seaboard.
Long in the planning, the official schedule went ‘like clockwork’, one of his party recalls. Alas, a royal spanner was to find its way into those works. The Duke had made a number of personal arrangements to fit around his formal duties.
Once in Manhattan and left to his own devices, the cumulative evidence suggests it had not taken long for Andrew to put himself in a compromising situation, which has caused serious harm to his reputation.
An important element of that evidence, which can be revealed by the Mail today, are the two words which appear on the confidential and — until now — unpublished official itinerary which was faxed from royal offices in London to the consul general’s team four days earlier.
They indicate the Duke’s intentions for the five hours between 1.45pm, when his plane touched down at JFK, and 6.45pm, when he was to leave the Residence to go to a formal dinner.
Those two words are ‘Private Time’ — lasting from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.
Given the date and location and the serious allegations made against him, this otherwise innocuous phrase is now loaded with significance, if not danger.
A modern-day Mephistopheles
What happened during those ‘private’ hours? The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) would certainly like to know. The whole world like to know. It is an international cause célèbre.
The Queen’s second — and some say favourite — son had always liked the Big Apple. While often brusque with and suspicious of strangers, and jealous of his own hereditary status and entitlements, Andrew enjoyed escaping from the intense scrutiny, formality and protocol which surrounded him in Commonwealth countries.
But he had a particular reason to look forward to this trip: his burgeoning friendship with an obscure but extremely generous and laid-back Wall Street billionaire named Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein happened to own the biggest townhouse in Manhattan. Covering seven floors and 28,000 square feet of the Upper East Side, the mansion’s comforts and facilities were even more extensive and considerably less stuffy — among its decor, prosthetic breasts wobbling on the bathroom walls — than those of the consul general’s Residence.
Five years divorced from Sarah, the Duchess of York, and nearing the end of a not undistinguished military career, this midlife Duke — aged 41 — was about to enter a new epoch, alone. With the impending retirement from the role by the Duke of Kent, Andrew had been anointed by his mother to become the UK’s next Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.