The Duke of York has told his friends that the last time he was caught visiting his friend Jeffrey Epstein in New York, he was there with the intention to break off their friendship.
Prince Andrew said that when he visited Epstein in 2010 - two years after the financier was convicted of child sex crimes, it was to put an end to their relationship, reports The Sunday Times.
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The Queen's second son found himself in hot water after a number of accusations of impropriety with underage girls following the death and arrest of paedophile Epstein, reports The Sun.
Epstein, was discovered dead in jail in August where he had been held pending trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
Prince Andrew has strongly denied all allegations against him, calling them "false" and "without foundation", but has been slammed for staying at the New York home of Epstein two years after the financier was convicted of child sex crimes.
A source told The Sunday Times: "The Duke has been hammered for one mistake, which took place in 2010.
"He has apologised again and again for the error of judgment. 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. 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."
Buckingham Palace declined to respond to the claims.
The Duke has also denied claims by Epstein's alleged "sex slave" Virginia Roberts that she had sex with the Prince on three occasions, the first when she was 17 and once at the US millionaire's Manhattan mansion.
Her allegations, submitted to a court in 2014, were later thrown out by a judge who ordered them to be struck from the record as "immaterial and impertinent".
Buckingham Palace has repeated its denial of wrongdoing by the Prince.
The Duke of York previously shared a statement about Epstein, saying: "It is apparent to me since the suicide of Mr Epstein that there has been an immense amount of media speculation about so much in his life.
"This is particularly the case in relation to my former association or friendship with Mr Epstein. Therefore I am eager to clarify the facts to avoid further speculation.
"I met Mr Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year. I have stayed in a number of his residences.
"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."
Since Epstein killed himself, at least five women have filed law suits against his $900,000 estate.
His victims revealed that he had a "vast enterprise" of helpers such as doctors and psychiatrists that he would pay to give him what he needed to ensure he had full control over the girls.
On July 6 he was arrested over claims of his involvement with sex-trafficking dozens of girls aged as young as 14 from 2002 until 2005 at the least.
He had denied the charges and was being held in prison until his trial where he was facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted.