Prince Andrew interview: Ex-consul general says he doesn’t recall Duke staying with him

Prince Andrew defended himself from claims he had sex with Virginia Roberts on three different occasions by retracing his steps during the now notorious Newsnight interview aired last Saturday. Asked whether he slept with Ms Roberts, then 17, in April 2001, while in New York, Prince Andrew told Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis he didn’t think “that could have happened at all”, adding he was staying with the Consul General. But Sir Thomas Harris, who served as top diplomat in New York between 1999 and 2004, said he has “no recollection” of having the prince staying at his official residence just off Central Park. He told the Daily Mail: “It doesn’t sound as if he stayed with me. 

“I don’t recall him staying with me.”

Sir Thomas told the Mail he doesn’t have anymore his working diary for the year 2001, so he can’t name with certainty every single person who visited his residence 18 years ago.

Noting that he would normally give a dinner party for a royal guest, Sir Thomas said the absence of this event from records “makes me suspect he wasn’t with me that night”.

He continued: “If he stayed with me, we would normally arrange for businesses to come in.

“My understanding is that it would be in the Court Circular. 

“I was led to believe that was the normal form.

“If you go through the Court Circular, you will come across the other visits he paid to New York. That was the typical pattern.”

But there isn’t any mention of Andrew staying with Sir Thomas in the Court Circular, the diary detailing past royal engagement.

In the Court Circular, there are records of the Duke of York leaving for New York on April 9 and details of his official activities in New York and Boston on the two following days.

On April 10, the Court Circular said Andrew did meet a British Consul General, but the one staying in Boston, Mr George Ferguson.

The Court Circular read: “The Duke of York, Chairman of the Trustees, Outward Bound Trust, today undertook the following engagements in the United States of America.

“His Royal Highness this morning visited the School for the Physical City, New York.

“The Duke of York today attended a Lunch and Meeting at the offices of The New York Times, New York.

“His Royal Highness was received this evening at Boston Airport, Massachusetts, by Her Majesty’s Consul-General for Boston (Mr. George Ferguson) and later attended a Dinner on Thompson Island.”

On the following day, on April 11, carried out other engagements in Boston before leaving for New York.

However, that entry still doesn’t mention Sir Thomas.

The Court Circular read: “The Duke of York, Chairman of the Trustees, Outward Bound Trust, attended the Morning Meeting at Willauer School, Thompson Island, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

“His Royal Highness also attended a briefing on the Outward Bound and Boston Public Schools Choices programme in the Lewis Library, Willauer School, and later visited students from the Choices programme participating in a Search and Rescue exercise at the Farm Site.  

“The Duke of York, Chairman of the Trustees, this afternoon departed Boston for New York upon the conclusion of His Royal Highness’s Outward Bound Trust engagements.

“Captain Richard Dilworth was in attendance.”

Sir Thomas added he remembers Andrew visiting him on October 2001 and September 2002.

But, he insisted: “I have no recollection of him staying at the address in April.

“I don’t have a note of the dates of all the visits – the Palace will.

“It doesn’t ring any bell whatsoever”. 

The Daily Mail noted that just days after the trip the Mail on Sunday newspaper wrote an article about the Duke of York’s American visit, which the prince’s office is quoted as saying that “he spent one night in New York as a guest of the consul-general and the second ‘privately’”.

The Court Circular and Sir Thomas’s words clash with what Andrew said during the Newsnight interview.

Asked whether he recalled any kind of sexual contact with Ms Roberts then or any other time, the Duke of York said: “Yeah, well I think that the date we have for that shows that I was in Boston or I was in New York the previous day and I was at a dinner for The Outward Bound Trust in New York and then I flew up to Boston the following day and then on the day that she says that this occurred, they’d already left to go the island before I got back from Boston.

“So I don’t think that could have happened at all.”

Prince Andrew conceded he may have “visited” Epstein’s mansion, but he had slept at the UK’s Consul General’s official residence just off Central Park.

He continued: “I probably did [visit Epstein’s house], on one of the weirder things, I was staying with the…because of what I was doing I was staying with the Consul General which is further down the street on the 5th so I wasn’t…I wasn’t staying there.

“I may have visited but no, definitely didn’t, definitely, definitely no, no, no activity.” has contacted Buckingham Palace for a comment.

A spokeswoman said the palace isn’t commenting on this. 

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