In a televised address, Prince Andrew emphasized denials of having sex with Virginian Roberts.
Prince Andrew on Thursday made his first public comment on allegations that he had had sex with an underage girl, reiterating previous official denials of the accusations.Reuters

Prince Andrew on Thursday night publicly denied the claim made by a woman that he had sex with her when she was 17.

For the first time ever, the UK royal personally reiterated earlier statements made by Buckingham Palace. In a televised speech, he emphasised that he never had any sexual contact or relationship with his accuser, Virginia Roberts who had claimed that he 'slept with her'.

However, his reference to the scandal made during an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday was brief and contained only 46 words and lasted not more than 37 seconds, notes British tabloid Daily Mail.

"Firstly I think I must, and want, for the record to refer to the events that have taken place in the last few weeks," he said reading out the carefully scripted remark.

"And I just wish to reiterate and to reaffirm the statements which have already been made on my behalf by Buckingham Palace."

He then talked about his priorities. "My focus is on my work and this evening's reception allows me to tell you about just a couple of the initiatives that I have founded and am passionate about."

The sex scandal erupted last month after Virginia Roberts filed papers in a US court as part of a legal battle against a billionaire banker Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of lending the then 17-year-old 'sex slave' to influential and powerful people of the world, including Prince Andrew.

Although Prince Andrew's brief words were not sensational and were carefully scripted, the fact that he made the first remark all by himself is an important development in the story that has plagued the UK Royal family for the past weeks.

At the end of the speech, the Prince, also known as the Duke of York, received a warm round of applause by the audience present in the room including Cherie Blair, wife of former British PM Tony Blair.

One unnamed guest was quoted by the Telegraph as saying: "We all found it pretty awkward. It wasn't the place or the forum to be addressing personal issues. This is not why people are here and it was pretty uncomfortable."

The Duke reportedly arrived at the Pitch@Palace event, where rookie businessmen were introduced to influential world entrepreneurs, looking confident and relaxed, reports have noted.

George Osborne, the Chancellor to the British Exchequer and Tony Blair, among other, were present. But both of arrived late and listened only to the beginning of Andrew's speech, as they left the venue early.