Prince Andrew’s perspiration – or lack of it – has become a central part of a scandal that could tear Britain's monarchy apart.
Since the prince’s disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight about his friendship with deceased convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the announcement that he would be stepping back from yoyal duties has done little to remove the scandal from the headlines.
Now Virginia Giuffre – who claims she was trafficked by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew – has been interviewed by the BBC, giving her account of how she got involved with Epstein. Prince Andrew strongly denies that he had sex with her.
Giuffre (who was previously known as Virginia Roberts) told Panorama about being plucked from obscurity by Epstein after an unhappy childhood.
As a teenager, she says she was passed around “like a bowl of fruit” to be abused by his friends.
She also described the night she allegedly met the prince, when she says he visited Epstein at his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell’s house in London in 2001. Giuffre claims that Prince Andrew accompanied the group to Tramp, a nightclub in West London, where they danced together.
He is the most hideous dancer I’ve ever seen in my life.
This guy was sweating all over me. His sweat was raining everywhere.
During his interview with Emily Maitlis, Prince Andrew, who has categorically denied all of Giuffre’s claims against him, said:
I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War, when I was shot at ... it was almost impossible for me to sweat.
But Panorama showed photos from the period which appear to depict the prince sweating.
Inevitably, Prince Andrew’s bizarre insistence that he doesn’t sweat launched thousands of memes and jokes online.
But jokes aside, as the most visceral description from Giuffre’s version of events, the prince’s perspiration has become a key detail of this story.
Giuffre claims that the night took a “darker turn” when they left the club, and Epstein informed her that the prince would be coming back with them. Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell told her “to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey.”
I felt sick. I didn’t expect that from royalty.
At this point, when the group allegedly arrived back to Maxwell’s house, Giuffre claims that the infamous photograph of her and the prince was taken. She says she asked for the photo to be taken so she could show her family. The prince previously said the photo is “a photo of a photo of a photo” and questioned its validity, but Giuffre insists it’s genuine, and she has handed it to the FBI.
Giuffre claims that, after the photo was taken, she had sex with Prince Andrew in a room of the house. He denies this.
So while Prince Andrew insisting he “can’t sweat” might sound like a funny excuse, it’s a focal point in a story that contains extremely disturbing accusations and is one of the most striking differences between the two accounts.
If he didn’t sweat in 2001, he probably has over the last few weeks as pressure over his friendship with Epstein continues to rise.