Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein has been the subject of a media firestorm, but new reports point to a bitter divide between the pair after a tabloid dubbed them “the prince and the perv.”
Their relationship began to sour after Epstein and the Duke of York -- who were friends for more than a decade -- were blasted on the front page of the New York Post in February 2011, CNN reported, citing three sources with direct knowledge.
"Randy Andy with NYC sex creep," the February 2011 cover reads, along with the unflattering title: "PRINCE & PERV."
The article called them, "Manhattan's raunchy new odd couple."
Just weeks after the photograph was published, the royal’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, admitted to getting $24,000 from Epstein. The financier later sued Ferguson to get the money back shortly after she said during an interview with London’s Evening Standard, “I abhor pedophilia.”
By that time, the multimillionaire was a registered sex offender who had served just over a year in prison on state prostitution charges for allegedly paying girls as young as 14 for sex.
Epstein – who was reportedly worth more than $550 million – was indicted in July of this year on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, according to court records.
He was found unconscious on the morning of Aug. 10, in his jail cell at lower Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The New York City medical examiner determined Epstein had committed suicide by hanging.
In the wake of his death – and following the Daily Mail’s release of a video that showed Prince Andrew inside Epstein’s apartment – Buckingham Palace released a statement that Andrew was “appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.”
"His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent."