Prince Andrew left his luxury Swiss chalet today to return to Britain amid a growing furore over claims he had sex with an under-age girl.
The Duke of York appeared in public for the first time since he was accused of abusing the girl ‘procured’ for him by his close friend and convicted paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.
The extraordinary allegation was made by Virginia Roberts as part of a US civil case against shamed billionaire Epstein. She claims Prince Andrew had sex with her when she was 17 – a minor under US law – and employed as a ‘sex slave’ by Epstein.
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Solemn: Fellow skiers watch as Prince Andrew leaves his £22k-a-week Swiss chalet today, bound for Britain
Retreat: The royal, above, did not leave the chalet for the last two days of his holiday after the scandal broke
Returning home: His youngest daughter, Princess Eugenie, left, had been staying with him at the chalet
The fifth in line to the throne slept with Miss Roberts at an orgy with other under-age girls on Epstein’s private Caribbean island, as well as in a private house in London and in Epstein’s New York mansion, according to the court papers.
The allegations were robustly denied by Buckingham Palace in an unprecedented three public statements, which describe them as ‘false and without foundation’. But last night the scandal showed no sign of abating.
The prince – who has spent the past week relaxing in a £22,000-a-week Swiss ski chalet – is today expected to hold crisis talks with his most senior aides and lawyers in his mansion close to Windsor Castle.