Pictured: Prince Andrew surrounded by topless women on Thai holiday with paedophile billionaire Epstein as friend says Duke 'has always been a t**s and bums man'
- Former friend says one comment left pregnant woman 'ashen with shock'
- Described Duke's humour as 'schoolboy stuff'
- Revealed Andrew's excitement when Epstein was in town 'with the girls'
- But acquaintance does not believe he would be involved in scandal
- Says billionaire Epstein was 'manipulative and calculating'
Prince Andrew is a 't**s and bums man' who is prone to making spectacularly inappropriate comments about women, a former acquaintance has claimed.
The source said Andrew often breached the bounds of social acceptance with his remarks - including one that left a pregnant woman 'ashen-faced' with shock.
'He has always been a t**s and bums man,' said the acquaintance.
The claims came as historic pictures of the Prince re-emerged, showing him surrounded by topless women in tiny bikinis enjoying an end-of-year holiday back in 2001.
The picture, it is understood, was taken while Andrew was on holiday in Phuket, Thailand, with his friend Jeffrey Epstein.
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Prince Andrew sits on a yacht in Thailand back in 2001, during a holiday at a £2,300-a-week resort which is thought to have come courtesy of Jeffrey Epstein
A former acquaintance of the Prince has said he is a 't**s and bums man'
On this particular trip, the Prince was joined by Jacqui Hamilton-Smith, the daughter of Lord Colwyn, Nellee Hooper, 37, a Bristol-born record producer, Atomic Kitten singer Jenny Frost and socialite Normandie Keith.
It is known Epstein and Andrew regularly holidayed together - from weekends at Balmoral and Sandringham, to trips to New York.
Epstein was, the source told The Times, 'a big part of [Andrew's] life' - and pictures of the Duke surrounded by women thanks to the financier seem to have been par for the course.
'It would always be, "Epstein is in town with the girls", and everyone would raise their eyes to heaven and move on,' the source said.
The unnamed source said, despite pictures like these of Andrew surrounded by people, he didn't have many friends
But Prince Andrew was close to Epstein for a number of years - although the source described the billionaire as an 'unsavoury' character
But the former acquaintance has also said the Prince is 'quite a bad chooser of friends', describing Epstein as 'a pretty unsavoury character'.
Epstein was jailed in 2008 for 13 months on a charge of soliciting sex with an underage girl.
The Duke's unfortunate friendship with Epstein has led him to be implicated in the latest scandal to hit the 61-year-old New Yorker.
Virginia Roberts alleges she was forced to have sex with him in the US while aged 17 and working as a masseuse for Epstein.
Epstein denies her claims that she was his 'sex slave'.
The allegations – first revealed in US court documents last week, in which Miss Roberts, now 30, claimed she had been forced to have sex with the prince three times between 2001 and 2002 – have also been vehemently denied by Buckingham Palace.
Yet despite the source's qualms over some of Andrew's 'schoolboy' humour - they claimed 'he made some completely inappropriate comment to someone who was pregnant and had massive boobs', they did not believe he was involved.
'You assumed some activity was happening, but I don't think any of us actually thought he [the duke] was involved.'
Epstein and his then-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell - pictured here at Sandringham - were close friends of Andrew for a number of years
It is alleged it was Maxwell who introduced Prince Andrew and the then 17-year-old ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts, photographed here in 2001
The source described Epstein as 'an unbelievable networker' - and told The Times he was the Duke's intellectual superior.
'I don't know if he liked him or not. He probably didn't. He probably thought he was an absolute buffoon. But he was the son of the Queen. It probably came down to that,' said the source.
For a while, however, the two men — and their mutual friend Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the media tycoon Robert Maxwell — were close.
'They were good friends. It is generally understood that he was going to these parties. But I still question whether he did what he was being accused of doing.'
What got him into trouble [in 2011], said the acquaintance, was Andrew's 'foolishness and naivety, and arrogance — and hoping to have some fun'.
'A heady mix. Whereas Epstein is much more manipulative and calculating.'
'I TRIED TO WARN ABOUT EPSTEIN YEARS AGO': WRITER REVEALS TORMENT OVER STORY OVER 'MOLESTED TEENS' THAT NEVER RAN
An American journalist has revealed she tried to expose Jeffrey Epstein's predatory behaviour 11 years ago - but Vanity Fair refused to print it.
Vicky Ward, a contributing editor at the magazine for 11 years, was asked to profile the billionaire back in 2003.
In a blog for The Daily Beast, Ms Ward - who describes Epstein as a 'Gatsby-esque character' - describes how she was made uncomfortable almost immediately.
'Epstein had invited me to an off-the-record tea at his Upper East Side house (during which I distinctly remember he rudely ate all the finger food himself) and then had his assistant call to tell me he’d thought I was pretty,' she recalls.
But it wasn't the unwanted compliment which worried her: it was - among other things - a conversation she had with a mother of a 16-year-old Epstein had allegedly molested.
'He’d gotten to them because of his money,' Ms Ward wrote, adding: 'The girls’ mother told me by phone that she had thought her daughters would be safe under Epstein’s roof, not least because he phoned her to reassure her, and she also knew he had Ghislaine Maxwell with him at all times.'
But when she tried to include the account in her final piece, it was pulled.
A Vanity Fair spokesman told the Daily Beast the decision was taken because “Epstein denied the charges at the time and since the claims were unsubstantiated and no criminal investigation had been initiated, we decided not to include them in what was a financial story”.
But Ms Ward - who said Epstein had 'a way of spooking you' - says it wasn't a financial piece - adding: 'it has often struck me that if my piece had named the women, the FBI might have come after Epstein sooner and perhaps some of his victims, now, in the latest spate of allegations, allegedly either paid off or too fearful of retribution to speak up, would have been saved.'