Buckingham Palace has refused to discuss the Duke of York’s visit to the 94-year-year-old monarch at her Highland retreat. However, it is understood that Andrew, 60, has gone to the 50,000-acre estate on Royal Deeside as part of his normal annual trip there. This time he is said to be alone though. He would usually spend a few days at Balmoral Castle with his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, as soon as the Queen takes up residence and before the arrival of the Duke of Edinburgh, who cannot bear to be in the same room as Fergie.
But this year Andrew is said to be staying there without Fergie because Prince Philip, 99, is already there, having travelled up to Scotland with the Queen from Windsor.
Royal insiders said they did not think Andrew was there specifically for crisis talks but agreed it would be astonishing if they did not discuss his plight while with his mother.
Andrew has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl after being introduced to her by Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison cell in August last year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Epstein’s former lover Ghislaine Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of child sex trafficking and perjury The FBI want to talk to Andrew about allegations Epstein was part of a ring of wealthy men sexually abusing underage girls.
They have insisted the Duke is only sought as a witness. The prince has vowed to cooperate with them but has yet to do so.
He has categorically denied any wrongdoing.