Buckingham Palace Denies Prince Andrew Has Hired a Spin Doctor Ahead of Expose on Jeffrey Epstein Friendship

Prince Andrew is "sensible" to keep a low profile ahead of an expose on his ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, a royal expert has told Newsweek.

The 59-year-old appears to be trying to avoid press attention amid reports he has hired a political "spin doctor" to help repair his reputation as Buckingham Palace braces itself for an hour-long documentary set to air on the U.K.'s Channel 4 in less than two weeks.

A Channel 4 spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek that a Dispatches documentary, titled "The Prince and the Paedophile", is due to air on October 21 at 10pm. The program will see reporter Cathy Newman investigate the "extraordinary friendship" between the Queen's second son and Epstein.

The Daily Telegraph reported, citing a royal source, that 28-year-old Jason Stein, who was previously MP Amber Rudd's special advisor, will report directly to Andrew's private secretary Amanda Thirsk and deal with Epstein related enquiries.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the matter. But a source close to the palace told Newsweek that Stein will not be Andrew's communications secretary.

Reports suggest Andrew is striving to stay under the radar in a bid to distance himself from the Epstein scandal. He has no future engagements published on the Royal Family's website and a recent trip to Australia saw very little fanfare.

Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty magazine, told Newsweek that Andrew is "probably wise" to hire help.

"I think that he's probably wise to employ the services of someone who is experienced in dealing with this kind of backlash," she said.

"I think the best thing for him to do is do what he has done which is to just keep his head down and get on with whatever he's doing. It would be sensible for him to keep a low profile as much as possible.

"He's cooperated whenever he's been asked and there's not very much else he can do at this stage."

Seward added that she doesn't believe he's actively trying to avoid attention so much as he doesn't usually attract much in the first place.

Last week, only one fan turned up to greet him at an event for his Pitch@Palace initiative for young entrepreneurs at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia.

prince Andrew
Prince Andrew at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, on October 2, 2019.

Even that fan—teacher and self-proclaimed "royal hunter" Renae Grljusich-Poolman—said she wasn't surprised by the poor turnout. She told The Australian that the speculation around his ties to Epstein had probably "marred his credibility."

Seward noted that Andrew never attracts as much attention as other members of the Royal Family. "I'm sure he doesn't like it, but I think he's used to it," she said.

"The royal palace press pack don't really follow Andrew, so we never get very much information about his trips abroad," she said.

However, Australia's news.com.au said Andrew's trip to Perth, Western Australia, was a "curiously under-the-radar official royal visit." It reported that Andrew "slipped into the country" with "no fanfare" and "no lead-up press coverage."

It said the fact that only one member of the public showed up was a "new, deeply embarrassing low point." It added: "It was an extraordinarily subdued and unusual arrival that looked a lot like he was trying to steal into the country without attracting media attention."

The Royal Family's movements are usually publicized in advance to ensure maximum press coverage, but no future engagements for Andrew are currently available to view on the Royal Family's website, where official engagements are published up to eight weeks in advance.

In contrast, his brother Prince Edward's planned engagements until November 28 have been published.

"It might be a security issue, they often only release engagements a few days before they happen," Seward said.

However, Andrew has maintained a regular social media presence, continuing to post on his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook following engagements.

Two weeks ago, he joined other members of the Royal Family in posting a gushing tribute following his eldest daughter Princess Beatrice's engagement. He will be expected to walk Beatrice down the aisle when she marries Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi next year.

Andrew has been dogged for months by negative headlines over his well-publicized friendship with Epstein, who took his own life in his prison cell in August after being charged with child trafficking.

Virginia Giuffre Roberts, one of 16 women who say they were abused by Epstein, claims she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17.

Buckingham Palace has repeatedly denied he had any sexual contact with Roberts, saying in a statement: "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."

Days after Epstein's death, Andrew issued a statement, which said: "The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged crimes. His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behavior is abhorrent."

But although Andrew has maintained to have never "seen, witnessed or suspected" the behavior that led to Epstein's 2008 conviction for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, he's come under fire for visiting Epstein four months after he was released from prison in 2010.

In another statement, issued August 24, Andrew said that he met Epstein in 1999 and insisted he saw him "infrequently" and no more than once or twice a year.

He added: "At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."

He said he had "tremendous sympathy" for Epstein's alleged victims, and reiterated that it was a "mistake" seeing Epstein release from an 18-month prison term in 2010 for prostituting minors.

Channel 4's current affairs team is understood to have contacted former royal aides to investigate why Andrew stayed ay Epstein's Manhattan mansion during that visit in December 2010, according to the Telegraph.

Andrew allegedly told friends the trip to New York was in a bid to end his friendship with Epstein, The Sunday Times reported. A source told the newspaper that the prince claimed he only visited Epstein, who considered him a "trophy friend," to tell him they couldn't be friends anymore.

Andrew now acknowledges Epstein was an "undercover" pedophile, the source said. But despite Andrew's attempts to distance himself from Epstein, he could become even more deeply embroiled in the scandal after reports in The Sunday Times the FBI has expanded its investigation to identify alleged human trafficking victims of Epstein, who could provide information on Andrew.

Citing unidentified sources from the Department of Justice, the newspaper reported that the FBI are looking to "several" potential victims in the hope they can provide more details about Prince Andrew and his involvement in the Epstein case.