The Duke of York has told friends why he visited Jeffrey Epstein in 2010 – after he was released from prison for soliciting a minor.
A source told The Sunday Times that Prince Andrew visited the convicted sex offender after his release to tell the billionaire that he was cutting all contact.
The source said: “The duke has been hammered for one mistake, which took place in 2010.
“He has apologised again and again for the error of judgement. But what he did wasn’t criminal. It was a mistake.
“He went to see a friend to tell them he couldn’t be their friend any more.”
They added: “Every example of anyone behaving like Epstein, who has later been discovered, has actually been very good at keeping their cover.
“If you have someone like the duke, you probably don’t show that side of yourself to him. That’s the sadness of being someone like the duke, you sometimes don’t see the real person because you are a bit of a trophy friend.”
The Duke of York has been heavily criticised for visiting Epstein after he was released in prison for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
In a statement in August, the Duke 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. I have tremendous sympathy for all those affected by his actions and behaviour.“
In 2011 the Duke apologised for continuing his friendship with Epstein who was jailed for 18 months in 2008.
Earlier this year, Jeffrey Epstein was facing federal sex trafficking charges in New York, however, news emerged of his death a couple of months ago.
The disgraced financier killed himself in his Manhattan cell just a few hours after the new court documents were opened.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Prince Andrew who has issued numerous statements distancing himself from the disgraced financier.