Now, in 2021, it seems things are only going to get worse for the prince -- beginning in July with the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former partner and the woman charged with recruiting and grooming girls to be sexually abused by Epstein.
Royal insiders say that Maxwell's trial will only bring more attention to the Duke of York and that his links will continue to be an unavoidable topic for the whole Royal Family.
Royal author Phil Dampier told New Idea Royals Monthly, “Prince Andrew is the Queen’s favourite son and she will always support him behind the scenes, both emotionally and financially. But she must be very worried about what is going to be said in Maxwell’s court case and other civil actions by victims of Epstein.”
“It’s all very worrying for the Queen and the last thing she needs as she approaches her 95th birthday. What with Harry and Meghan’s departure she must be devastated by this turn of events. But as always she will soldier on.”
For now, the Prince has been keeping a low profile, bunkering down in the UK’s COVID -19 lockdown with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and talking to his lawyers on a daily basis.
“They seem to have told him that eventually this will all go away, but the worse might yet be to come, and we don't know what explosive details will be given in court,” says Dampier.
“There’s even the possibility that Ghislaine Maxwell might attempt a plea-bargaining deal and reveal far more.”
A source close to the prince told the UK’s Daily Mirror that any hopes Andrew has for a return won’t be able to happen until after any legal process is over.
“The Duke’s future role is only likely to be seriously considered once the legal process has been resolved and the Duke’s side of the story properly explained,” the source said. “Until then, the Duke is sensitive to the public mood and to the fact that the institution must come first.”
Dampier, however, suggests that Andrew will never be able return to royal life.
“I’ve never thought that Andrew is going to be clapped in irons and extradited to the US,” he says.
“And of course, he has always said he is innocent of any wrongdoing and knew nothing of any alleged sex-trafficking. But there’s no doubt in my mind that his days are over as a working royal. He might want to come back, and there have been reports he is trying to revive his Pitch@Palace organisation by appointing new executives, but I can’t see it happening.
”According to reports, the murky friendship between Andrew and Epstein began around 1999, when the pair were introduced by Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein's girlfriend at the time. Epstein was arrested in 2006 for soliciting a minor and served 13 months in jail.
In August of 2019, Buckingham Palace released statements regarding Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein. In one, he admitted that it was "a mistake and an error" to spend time with a convicted sex offender. Andrew also said that he did not "see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to [Epstein's] arrest and conviction."
"His suicide has left many unanswered questions and I acknowledge and sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure," the Duke of York wrote, before closing with "I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behaviour."
The prince also denied allegations he had any sexual contact with an American woman named Virginia Giuffre, formerly Roberts, who claims she was ordered by Epstein to have sex with Andrew, when she was just 17.
A further statement from the Palace, saying that the Duke of York was "appalled" by Epstein's alleged crimes, was released after a 2010 video of Prince Andrew inside Epstein's New York City home was published online. In the footage, the Duke of York can be seen waving to a woman from the door.
Prince Andrew received major backlash after he addressed his relationship with Epstein on the BBC news programme Newsnight.
Following the interview, the Duke announced that he would be stepping back from public life and royal duties for the “foreseeable future”. He also said he intended “to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
In a statement, Andrew said: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein have become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.
"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."
“Andrew is now a man in his sixties without a role, an income or a future. His days are spent riding, golfing and talking to his legal team,” says Dampier. “It’s a sad end for a man who was once hailed as a war hero after the Falklands conflict in the early 1980s.
"I’m afraid he has very much brought this on himself. He should never have continued seeing Epstein after he had been to prison. But he is now paying a heavy price for a period in his life he should never have let happen.”
For more, pick up a copy of New Idea Royals Monthly. On sale now!