by Alun Palmer
THE string of seedy allegations surrounding Prince Andrew could inflict serious damage on the Royal Family, aides fear.
With Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton just around the corner advisers are worried the big day could be overshadowed by Andrew’s links to a wealthy paedophile and dictators.
And in a fresh embarrassment, papers revealed his children Princesses Beatrice, now 22, and Eugenie, 20, met pervert Jeffrey Epstein in 1998.
Ten years later he got 18 months’ jail for soliciting an under-age girl for prostitution.
A senior Palace insider said: “Andrew is the Queen’s favourite son and staff have to be careful what they say to her about him. But there is no way they could keep these stories from her. It was a fleeting meeting between the princesses and Epstein but it is still a worry. We have a royal wedding in a few weeks and nothing should detract from that.
“People are pulling their hair out that at a time which is a celebration for the monarchy, it is being tarnished.”
Records show that on April 16, 1998, Epstein flew from Palm Beach airport to Nassau. The documents, seized by lawyers, say he met “Princess Sarah Ferguson and kids on the ground.” The Palace refused to comment.
Andrew’s role as UK trade ambassador has also been called into question due to his links with Epstein and other dubious businessmen including Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi’s son Saif.
A Palace source said: “They are hoping Andrew will brazen it out as he loves his job. But the Palace feel they can’t say anything more without incriminating him further.”
Insiders said the royal spin machine had gone into overdrive with the release of good news such as Zara Phillips’ wedding on July 30. Andrew, 51, has cut links with Epstein, 58, just a few months after meeting him at his US home. There is no suggestion the prince had sexual contact there.
At least 40 girls aged 13 to 17 claimed Epstein assaulted them. The FBI is reopening its case after his masseuse Virginia Roberts told how she was recruited at 15. She said: “I was training to be his prostitute.”
Andrew’s foreign business links have also caused concern. He has met Libyan gun smuggler Tarek Kaituni and Azerbaijan dictator Ilham Aliyev, among others. But friends insist his trips abroad are vital for UK trade.