Prince Andrew spoke out Saturday for the first time since Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, calling his relationship with the financier and convicted pedophile a “mistake and an error.”

In a statement, the Duke of York said he met Epstein in 1999, “saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year” and “stayed in a number of his residences.”

Epstein was found dead two weeks ago in a New York City federal prison cell where he was awaiting a highly publicized sex trafficking trial. One of his alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, née Roberts, claimed in a 2015 Florida court filing that she was forced to have intercourse with Andrew three times. At the time, Andrew personally denied the allegations against him, adding to several previous denials issued by the palace.

On Saturday, the duke claimed that he was not aware of Epstein’s behavior.

“At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction,” Andrew said. “I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know.”

Prince Andrew issues a statement on his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. pic.twitter.com/S5G6vpHaxw

— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) August 24, 2019

Last week, the Daily Mail released a video purportedly shot in 2010, which shows Andrew at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, waving at a woman who was exiting the building.

In response, Buckingham Palace stated that the duke was “appalled” by reports of Epstein’s alleged crimes, and “deplores the exploitation of any human being,” adding that “the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent.”

The Mail also published flight logs it obtained, showing that in 2001, Giuffre was flown to the Caribbean, London and New York — three places she claimed to have met Andrew at age 17. The outlet also reported that its research “suggests the duke was in the same vicinity at the same time.”

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