Prince Andrew has been accused of using the "N-word" in a meeting at Buckingham Palace with a Downing Street adviser who is of Sri Lankan descent, as fallout continues from his interview over Jeffrey Epstein.

Tech founder and adviser Rohan Silva, who was a key economic aide for former British Prime Minister David Cameron, claims the Duke of York used the word during a meeting in which Mr Silva raised a question about the Department of Trade.

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Silva said Prince Andrew responded: "Well, If you'll pardon the expression, that really is the n***** in the woodpile."

"I'm ashamed to say that I didn't do anything about it — I felt overawed and extremely conscious of the gulf in status between the two of us. The meeting ended shortly afterwards, and I remember distinctly how I walked blinking into the sunshine outside Buckingham Palace, reeling at the prince's use of language," Silva wrote in the London Evening Standard.


Palace sources have denied Prince Andrew used the phrase.

It comes as the Duke of York is facing calls to submit to questioning by US authorities under oath over his friendship with the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew on BBC Newsnight with Emily Maitlis. Photo / BBC
Prince Andrew on BBC Newsnight with Emily Maitlis. Photo / BBC

On Saturday, the Duke of York took part in an hour-long interview with BBC Newsnight in which he said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein and denied having met or had sex with Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre.

He defended his decision to invite Jeffrey Epstein to Princess Beatrice's 18th birthday and said he could not have had sex with Giuffre on the night she alleged because he was at a pizza restaurant in Woking, again with Princess Beatrice for a party.

The extraordinary interview has been described as "nuclear explosion level bad" and led to calls for the Prince to testify under oath. He's also been slammed for bringing his daughters into the story, which he described as a "constant sore" for the family.

On Monday, Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer for three of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims said it was "depressing" that Prince Andrew did not seem to grasp the victims' perspective and the details he provided could be used against him.

"A man that has been to all three of Epstein's homes can't avoid seeing what had been going on in those homes and girls being shuttled in and out," he told the BBC's Today show.

"It's sad that powerful, wealthy and influential people are not owning up to their responsibilities with respect to the victims that are out there."

Prince Andrew says he cannot ever recall meeting Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre. Photo / supplied
Prince Andrew says he cannot ever recall meeting Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre. Photo / supplied

"The mere fact that he was friends with a convicted sex offender and chose to continue his relationship with him – it just shows a lack of acknowledgment of the breadth of what this man [Epstein] did to these girls," he said.

Kuvin said the alleged victims of Epstein had been failed by the system for nearly 13 years.

"The government has failed them, the prosecutors have failed them, the US Attorney's Office has failed them, the politicians have failed them – now royalty has failed them."

"It's just by now empty promises. So, unfortunately they're not very hopeful but they will continue the fight."

Meanwhile British legal experts have also pointed out the Duke could be vulnerable to extradition and his royal position does not provide him with immunity. Extradition barrister Ben Keith told The Times giving US authorities "ammunition was extremely unwise."

Epstein invited to Princess Beatrice's 18th birthday

In one of the many startling moments in the interview, Prince Andrew admitted he had invited Jeffrey Epstein to his daughter's 18th birthday in July 2006 despite the fact in May an arrest warrant had been issued for Epstein having sexually assaulted a minor.

Prince Andrew said he was asking Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's girlfriend at the time, and "wasn't aware" that his friend was facing a warrant issued by Palm Beach Police.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Princess Beatrice attends day one of Royal Ascot in June 2019. Getty Image / Max Mumby
Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Princess Beatrice attends day one of Royal Ascot in June 2019. Getty Image / Max Mumby

"I mean I'm afraid, you see this is the problem is that an awful lot of this was going on in the United States and I wasn't a party to it and I knew nothing about it," he said

The response sparked criticism from royal expert Professor Kate Williams, who questioned how he could have exposed his children to the tawdry affair.

"Beatrice and Eugenie – not only did #PrinceAndrew drag them into it last night, using them as his #pizzaexpress alibi. But it's clear from flight logs they were taken on #Epstein's plane and to his private island. How could Andrew have exposed his children to this?" she tweeted.

An 'articulated lorry crash'

The interview marked the first time Prince Andrew has spoken about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein in a decade. Epstein committed suicide in a New York jail cell in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

It contained a number of never-before-heard details from the Prince, including denials he had any recollection of meeting Virginia Giuffre, having his picture taken with her or having sex with her.

He said could not have been with her at Tramp nightclub because he "didn't drink" and "didn't sweat" at the time due to a medical condition from the Falklands War. Giuffre alleges she was forced by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew three times when she was 17 – in London, the US and the Caribbean.

However far from drawing a line under the allegations, the interview has ignited public interest and sparked a slew of old pictures from the time showing Prince Andrew partying, dancing and smiling with a number of young women.

The judgement of palace officials is now being questioned after Prince Andrew's interview with Emily Maitlis. Photo / BBC
The judgement of palace officials is now being questioned after Prince Andrew's interview with Emily Maitlis. Photo / BBC

Giuffre has not commented since the interview aired, however she retweeted a comment saying the interview was "one of the royal family's most misjudged forays" and a Daily Mail article asking "Where is Ghislaine Maxwell?"

Lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, said she didn't see how Prince Andrew could have visited Jeffrey Epstein's homes in the US and Caribbean without noticing anything untoward.

"I would like to know anything and everything about Ms Maxwell and what she was doing. She was in as far as I know all of those locations. And I would like to know who his employees were who was in the chain? Who assisted? Who knowingly conspired with Mr Esptein?" she told Good Morning Britain.

In Britain, fallout from the disastrous interview has led to questions over the judgement of palace media officials, as it comes after Meghan and Harry's decision to take part in an ITV documentary and the failure of advisers to protect the Queen from Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue parliament which was later ruled "unlawful."

Royal expert Dickie Arbiter said Prince Andrew's decision to speak out was "not so much a car crash but an articulated lorry crash" and said questions will be asked about why it went ahead.

"Any sensible-thinking person in the PR business would have thrown their hands up in horror at the very suggestion that he puts himself up in front of a television camera to explain away his actions and his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein."

The news has completely overshadowed Prince Charles and Camilla's royal tour of New Zealand and led to reports Prince Charles has been urged to downgrade Prince Andrew's role as a working royal. The heir to the throne was said to have regarded his brother's decision to sit down with Newsnight with "incredulity and alarm."

A senior royal source told The Daily Telegraph: "It's possible the Prince of Wales could decide to remove the Duke of York's status as a working royal when he becomes king."

"It's no secret that Charles wants to streamline the monarchy when he eventually succeeds the Queen, and they have had plenty of disagreements in the past over Andrew's role and that of his daughters.

Former BBC correspondent and royal expert Peter Hunt asked: "Will Prince Charles have the courage to do what he should do – and tell Prince Andrew to retire from public life on the basis his judgment has been called into question one too many times? Their mother won't – Andrew is one of her blind spots."

"The [Emily Maitils] interview is just the latest indication of a malaise afflicting the Royal Household that also manifest itself when the Queen was badly let down by her advisers over Boris Johnson's failed prorogation of Parliament."

Newsnight interviewer Emily Maitlis described the interview as the "most extraordinary encounter of my professional life. A man who has not talked publicly on this subject for a decade has not been permitted to do so and won't stop."