Buckingham Palace is busy doing a little damage control, which has eyebrows at media outlets including the New York Times and the AP raised because it doesn't usually bother. At issue is Prince Andrew, his ties to American billionaire/registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and whether Queen Elizabeth's second son had sex with an underage girl named as "Jane Doe Number 3" in a lawsuit filed last week in Florida. The woman, who is being named by the Daily Mail, claims that Epstein forced her to have sex with men including the Duke of York in London, New York, and on Epstein's private Caribbean island between 1999 and 2002, beginning when she was just 17. Also named is Harvard law prof Alan Dershowitz, who yesterday "categorically and unequivocally" denied all allegations.
"This relates to longstanding and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party," said the palace statement. "As such we would not comment on the detail. However, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue." Andrew himself is cutting short a ski vacation to return and address the allegations, reports the Daily Mail, which notes that the royal may have immunity from prosecution stemming from Epstein's 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution. Andrew resigned as UK trade envoy in 2011 over his ties to Epstein. (Read more Prince Andrew stories.)