Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway is speaking out about her association with Jeffrey Epstein.
On the heels of Britain's Prince Andrew stepping back from public duties following his bombshell interview with the BBC about his ties to the disgraced financier, who died by suicide in jail in New York City in August while awaiting trial on multiple sex charges, the Norwegian royal confirmed she met with Epstein after the Dagens Næringsliv newspaper published a report about their relationship.
"I would never have had anything to do with Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of his criminal acts," Crown Princess Mette-Marit said in a written statement sent from the palace to DN. "I should have examined Epstein’s past more closely, and I regret that I did not."
According to the outlet, Princess Mette-Marit admitted to meetings with Epstein on several occasions between 2011 and 2013, years after he was convicted for paying an underage girl for sexual services and served nearly 13 months in jail. They were introduced by a mutual acquaintance.
Princess Mette-MaritRagnar Singsaas/Getty
"One of the meetings was at Epstein’s home,” Guri Varpe, communications chief at the Royal Palace, told DN. "In addition, the crown princess had a brief meeting with Epstein once when he was in Oslo.”
Mette-Marit's husband, Crown Prince Haakon, reportedly met Epstein "on the street" while they were on holiday in St. Barts in 2012. “Then Crown Prince Haakon greeted Epstein for the first and only time," according to Varpe.
Varpe also stated that Princess Mette-Marit did not "know about the extent and character of the criminal acts he had admitted to and served time for" or "about the offenses that were later revealed either."
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Virginia Giuffre, who says she was trafficked to have sex with Prince Andrew, is speaking out in a new interview.
“I implore the people in the U.K. to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being okay,” Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, tells the BBC's Panorama airing Monday evening in the U.K. “This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys’ royalty.”
The palace told the BBC that the Duke of York, 59, “unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein” and “deeply sympathizes with those affected who want some form of closure.”
The palace also reiterated that “it is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Prince AndrewMax Mumby/Indigo/Getty
Following Prince Andrew's interview, the Queen’s second son was widely criticized for not showing empathy for the victims of Epstein and for his decision to stay with at the financier’s New York home in December 2010, just months after Epstein had served his jail time.
Andrew also said he had “no recollection of ever meeting” Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to have sex with the royal three times between 1999 and 2002 in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein when she was 17 years old.
Prince Andrew; Virginia Roberts GiuffreAlexander Koerner/Getty; Today
Prince Andrew told journalist Emily Maitlis of Giuffre’s allegations, “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever. It just never happened.”