Actress and director Elizabeth Banks drew gasps from Kylie Minogue and Ricky Gervais when she aimed an off-the-cuff jibe at embattled royal Prince Andrew on The Graham Norton Show.

It's been claimed the prince, who is eighth in line to the throne, had sex with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein's "sex slave" Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) in 2001, when Roberts was just 17 years old.

The prince recently gave an interview to BBC Newsnight about his links to Epstein, who was found dead in his prison cell earlier this year while being held on sex trafficking charges.

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Sitting on the famous red couch with her fellow Graham Norton guests this week, Charlie's Angels writer and director Banks was shown an old picture of herself by the show's host.

Elizabeth Banks sporting her first hoop earrings and a homemade necklace ... but whose hand is that on her shoulder? Image / BBC
Elizabeth Banks sporting her first hoop earrings and a homemade necklace ... but whose hand is that on her shoulder? Image / BBC

In it, she's sporting big hair, hoop earrings and a beaded necklace.

"Look how proud I am," she says, commenting on the photo. "I made that necklace myself and — I was not really allowed to wear hoop earrings until I was older and so those were probally some of my first hoop earrings.

"My father thought that hoop earrings were only worn by pirates," she added, "so I was not allowed to wear them."


Turning back to look at the picture, Norton draws attention to a hand that's resting on Banks' left shoulder.

"This is someone saying 'you'll regret this photograph — move'," he suggests.

Not missing a beat, Banks retorts: "That's Prince Andrew's hand!"

Fellow guest Minogue was clearly not expecting the conversation to go that way and her eyes nearly pop out of her head as she registers what Banks has said.

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Gervais, meanwhile, throws his head back with laughter before commenting: "Oh God, oh Jesus."

Ricky Gervais is momentarily lost for words. Image / BBC
Ricky Gervais is momentarily lost for words. Image / BBC

As the laughter dies down there's a slightly uncomfortable silence before Norton suggests: "Photoshopped, it's photoshopped" — a reference to the implication made by some of the prince's friends that a photo of him with his arm around his accuser's waist could have been faked.

During the recent BBC interview, the prince insisted he did not remember ever meeting Roberts, despite the existence of the photograph.

He added that public displays of affection were not something he would do but refused to reveal whether he thought the image was doctored.