A pal of Prince Andrew who could be crucial to the royal’s lawsuit with rape accuser Virginia Giuffre has been tracked down.
Neurosurgeon Dr Melanie Walker, 50, was introduced to the Duke of York by his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein, whose staff say she “knows more than most” about the two men’s friendship.
The “captivating” doctor enjoyed such a close relationship with the prince she was a guest at his 40th birthday party at Windsor Castle in 2000, with Epstein and his “madam” Ghislaine Maxwell.
But when asked if she would be supporting Andrew, 61, in his lawsuit, she smiled and declined to comment.
And quizzed on whether she would give evidence on his behalf, or give details about his friendship with Epstein, again she refused to talk.
A former worker at Epstein’s Zorro ranch told of the pair’s closeness.
He said: “Melanie was incredibly charming, lovely and captivating – one of the most intelligent figures I ever met in Jeffrey’s world.
“After she was introduced to Andrew, they just seemed to click. She knew him better than anyone in that circle.
“They spent a lot of time together, and were inseparable even. I never saw them intimate but other staff told me they had grown very, very close.
“She could not be more opposite to Virginia. Although they were both integral to Jeffrey, I never saw them meet.
“Unless something went wrong between them [the duke and Dr Walker]I suspect she would be very supportive of Andrew.
“I would think her evidence could only be to her advantage. She knows more than most about how close Epstein and Andrew were and the time they spent together.”
It is not known if Dr Walker, who the duke jokingly called “smartypants” and “dork”, has been approached by his legal team to give a statement. It is understood Giuffre’s lawyers have no intention of subpoenaing the medic.
There is no suggestion Dr Walker knew or was present when Epstein and Maxwell are accused of abusing girls or knew anything about the allegations surrounding Andrew.
Former Zorro housekeeper Deidre Stratton claimed Andrew was “given” Dr Walker to keep him company for three days when he stayed at the ranch in 1999 or 2000, when Epstein was not there.
She said the duke, then 39 or 40, was put up in a self-contained three-bedroom guest property on the estate.
She added: “At the time Jeffrey had this, she supposedly was a neurosurgeon – and quite young, beautiful and brilliant – and stayed in the home with him.”
Deirdre said she saw no sexual activity between Andrew and Dr Walker, then 28. A former personal protection officer of the prince said the pair were alone for most of their stay at Zorro, having only occasional contact with staff.
Referring to his notes, taken at the time, the bodyguard said Epstein and Maxwell joined them for “at least one night”, but they were the only visitors.
The officer was adamant it was the only time the duke ever visited Zorro.
This contradicts court-made claims by Epstein’s former teen “sex slave” Giuffre that she was once flown there alone to spend time with Andrew – an allegation the royal unequivocally denies.
The bodyguard said he is sure the prince never met or saw Giuffre during his time with the duke.
Dr Walker was at the Dance of the Decades party which the Queen threw for milestones, including Andrew’s 40th birthday.
Also there were Epstein, who died in jail, aged 66, in 2019 awaiting trial on child sex-trafficking charges and Maxwell, 60, who in December was convicted of procuring, grooming and trafficking young girls.
Dr Walker, a neurological surgery professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, has previously praised the duke. In a 2003 interview, she said they were friends who talked “mostly about science and medicine” and kept in touch via email.
She met Epstein in 1992 while visiting New York after graduating from the University of Texas.
He approached her while she was having tea at the Plaza Hotel and told her he could get her an audition to a model for Victoria’s Secret as he knew owner Lex Wexner. She decided to finish medical school instead.
From 1992 to 2000, records show her listed at a Manhattan address owned by Epstein where she would stay when visiting New York.
She became his science adviser in 1998 and a year later began to appear as a passenger on flight logs for his
“Lolita Express” jet.
She later met Steven Sinofsky, 56, a senior executive at Microsoft and moved to Seattle to be with him. They live in a £2.3million flat overlooking Elliott Bay.
In 2006, she joined the Gates Foundation. She reportedly introduced Epstein to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
American Giuffre, 38, is suing for unspecified damages that US lawyers have said could top £14million.
The mum of three claims that in 2001, when she was 17 – underage in US law – she was trafficked to London by Maxwell and Epstein to have sex with Andrew. Giuffre also alleges she was forced to have sex with the prince at Epstein’s home in New York and the US Virgin Islands. Andrew emphatically denies her allegations from her.
Last month he sued a trial by jury in a bid to clear his name after failing to have her US civil lawsuit thrown out by a New York judge.
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