When Victoria Roberts alleged Prince Andrew had sex with her when she was underage, he hit back with an alibi that placed him far away from the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell and a 17-year-old girl.
The Duke of York said he took his daughter Beatrice to a birthday party at a pizza chain restaurant in the outlier suburb of Woking on March 10, 2001.
That’s the date Ms Roberts, the lead accuser of deceased paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, says she was instructed to have sex with Prince Andrew.
The duke has vehemently denied all accusations of sexual relations with Ms Roberts – even that he met her, despite photographic evidence – including in a “car crash” interview with the BBC about 12 months ago.
Now, an investigation from The Daily Mail in Britain says Prince Andrew’s alibi is a sham.
It claims an “invaluable source” close to Princess Beatrice said she could not remember the March 10 party, nor her father taking her there or home. They even tracked down the birthday girl whose party it was – her family said Beatrice was a school friend of their daughter, but they could not recall the March 10 event either.
Nor do they have any photographs.
The Mail said its article, published on the weekend, was the first of a series of four and the result of months of independent investigations into the duke and Ms Roberts and what occurred between them.
Their release is likely to further sour relationships between Prince Andrew and the rest of the royal family.
The duke has been stood down from royal duties since that BBC interview in November 2019.
The prince has always been referred to as the Queen’s favourite son, but he was notably absent from the photographs of the royal family, taken at a recent (COVID safe) reunion at Windsor Castle.
It’s not like it would have been hard for him to make it to the reunion – he and his former wife Sarah Ferguson live on-site at Windsor Castle, where the Queen and Prince Philip have been waiting out the second wave of the pandemic in Britain.
Nor will 2021 be any smoother for the Prince. Ms Maxwell’s trial is finally due to start in July, for sex trafficking charges related to those Epstein was arrested for, before he took his own life.
While the duke’s Epstein links are never far from the headlines, Ms Maxwell’s trial will ensure they are page one for weeks.