Prince Andrew’s former girlfriend Koo Stark has spoken publicly about their relationship for the first time in over 30 years to defend the Duke of York over allegations he slept with a teenage ‘sex slave.’
American born Stark dated Prince Andrew after his return from the Falklands War in 1982 when she was 26. They were together for 18 months but the royal went on to marry Sarah Ferguson in 1986.
The actress said the sex allegations recently levied at Prince Andrew in legal papers filed in the US by Virginia Roberts amounted to an "assassination of his character". Ms Roberts, who is referred to in court as Jane Doe No 3, claims she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 by his financier friend Jeffrey Epstein who is a convicted sex offender.
Andrew, 54, vehemently denies the claims and Buckingham Palace has stated they are "false and without foundation".
Stark, writing in the Mail on Sunday, said: "My first reaction was fury, then disbelief, at the lurid allegations being made against a man I have known well for more than 30 years.
"He was being accused of the very worst kind of behaviour. The stain on his reputation is spilling across his life like blood from a new wound.
The 58-year-old, who was embroiled in a court case concerning the ownership of a £40,000 painting in 2013, continues: "I know too much about the media and the law courts to allow the disgrace of an innocent man.
“That is why I have decided to now reveal some of the details of my relationship with Andrew. Most people in this country have formed their own impression of him - either good or ill. My view is clear: I believe him to be a good man.
"I firmly believe I can help rebut, with authority, the allegations against him. I will use those details to challenge Virginia Roberts' description of a man which does not tally with the person I have known for more than half my lifetime."
The Palace did not comment on Miss Stark's intervention.
Prince Andrew: Life in pictures
Prince Andrew: Life in pictures
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Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrives at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 November 2014 in London
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Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (L) speaks to Queen Elizabeth II on the Queens stand during Derby day at the Epsom Derby Festival, in Surrey on 1 June 2013
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Prince Andrew with his daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice on the Balcony at Buckingham Palace, 2013
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Princess Beatrice (C) poses for photograph with her parents, Britain's Prince Andrew, the Duke York (L) and Sarah Ferguson following her graduation ceremony at Goldsmiths College, in London, 2011
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Prince Andrew’s ‘pointless plunge’ down the Shard was the moment to take stock of his usefulness
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Prince Andrew is the first royal to take and tweet a selfie
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Prince Andrew with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Al-Khalifa at Royal Ascot in 2010
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Prince Andrew with Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan in 2009
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Prince Andrew with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the first day of his state visit to London
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Duke of York in his uniform
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Britain's Prince Andrew speaks to the press during a meeting with Turkish Businessmen at Ciragan Palace in Istanbul on 26 May 2004
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Wearing a traditional Guatemalan ceremonial jacket, Britains Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, turns on the tap innaugurating an irrigation system sponsored by the European community on 7 March 2002 in Nevaj, Guatemala
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The newly wed Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and his wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, wave to crowds on 23 July 1986 from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London while Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Mother look on
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Prince Andrew and Prince Edward with their governess, Lavinia Keppel, at the Children's Book Show in Westminster, London on 7 November 1969
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Prince Andrew (bottom left) with his parents Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip and siblings, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and little Prince Edward at Windsor Castle, 1965
Last month a letter addressed to Andrew at Buckingham Palace asking him to take part in a two-hour interview was filed in a Florida court by lawyers acting on behalf of Ms Roberts.
In June 2013 Stark avoided going to trial after she returned an Anthonie van Borssom oil painting she was accused of stealing by a former partner.
The prosecution and defence reached an agreement for her to return oil painting, which depicts a moonlit coastal landscape, which she was alleged to have taken from the flat of Warren Walker, father of her daughter Tatiana.
Stark’s lawyers said she believed the painting was hers when she took it.Reuse content