Puppeteer claims Prince Andrew said the “Spitting Image” doll was purchased by a “friend” when he used it to grope girls with Epstein

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Top puppeteer claims Prince Andrew told him his infamous ‘Spitting Image’ doll was bought by a ‘friend in New York’ – amid allegations the Royal used her to grope girls with Jeffrey Epstein.

Steve Wright, 55, says he met Andrew at Buckingham Palace after being invited there to be recognized for his contribution to education.

Award-winning Steve says he had a conversation with the Duke of York which got lively when he told him about his puppet work.

He says the prince told him his friend bought his Spitting Image doll and took it to his New York apartment – and even played a prank on him.

Steve says Andrew explained that “the friend” once placed the “bloody thing” on the couch when Andrew visited him as a joke.

The Royal has been accused in court documents of using a Spitting Image puppet of himself to grop two girls at Epstein’s New York home.

Margaret thatcher

A newspaper article that describes the royal invitation from puppeteer Steve Wright. Credit: SWNS

A collection of Spitting Image puppets – including those of Margaret Thatcher, Madonna and Andrew – went on sale in 2000.

Steve runs a puppet studio in Huddersfield, Yorkshire which teaches values ​​to children and was also a puppet maker for the musical Billy Elliot.

He says he didn’t realize the importance of his conversation until after the recent allegations.

Steve says the conversation started when he met Prince Andrew at the palace and showed him a photo of one of his puppets.

Steve said: “I saw Prince Andrew standing with a group of people in a circle.

“I joined them and Andrew was saying it was ‘so hard to go into business these days, I mean how do you do it?’

Literally exploded

“I told him I was a puppeteer and had just started doing puppet shows and people really liked them.

“Then I showed him a picture of one of my puppets and he had a clear facial reaction.

“He looked really surprised and the story literally blew out of him immediately.

“He said, ‘Oh my god puppets! Spitting Image – did you know my friend bought my Spitting Image puppet and you’ll never believe he played a trick on me. ‘

“He told me he went to an apartment in New York and saw the ‘bloody thing’ sitting on the couch and ‘almost had a bloody heart attack’ while he was “there to look at each other”.

Steve added: “Prince Andrew kept talking about puppets for a few more minutes and the group was saying their favorite characters.”

The conversation seems to add weight to claims that Ghislaine Maxwell introduced the puppet to the prince in April 2001.

It is alleged that Andrew used the puppet to “grope” Virginia Roberts, then 17, and Johanna Sjoberg, one of Epstein’s former sex slaves, then 21.

Steve, married to 60-year-old deputy principal Polly Wright, saw the doll allegations in August.

Steve said: “That’s when I put two and two together. I was horrified by the story.

“The idea that she is being called a liar by him.” Why would she invent a puppet story?

“I distinctly remember thinking, ‘Oh my god.’ I was surprised.

“I was upstairs and I said to my wife ‘you won’t believe it’ – I remembered what he said pretty much verbatim.

“I said to my wife, ‘It’s not good, I know something about this story and she’s telling the truth about this puppet.’

“Everything clicked. Prince Andrew had told me personally that he had been to New York and had seen the puppet.

Steve was one of 600 people appointed to attend the Royal Reception at Buckingham Palace in 2003 for being “pioneers”.

He was chosen for his use of the puppet to convey vital messages to young people.

Its Routes Puppets theater works in schools and colleges on projects with young people, focusing on topics such as equality and diversity, hate crimes, gang and knife crimes, British values ​​and the Mental Health.

Steve said: “I was truly honored to be invited to the palace, it was the most memorable night of my life.

“There are big events in life, you get married, you have children and meeting the queen is one of those things.

“I’ve had some good things in my career, but it’s three in the top three.

Palace

“And seeing Prince Andrew say that everything the alleged victim said was a lie, I wanted to do something about it.”

Steve added: “I was truly honored to be invited to the palace, it was the most memorable night of my life.

“There are big events in life, you get married, you have children and meeting the queen is one of those things.

“I’ve had some good things in my career, but it’s three in the top three.

“And seeing Prince Andrew say that everything the alleged victim said was a lie, I wanted to do something about it.”

Royal invitation from Steve Wright. Credit: SWNS

In an unpublished book, Ms Roberts wrote that “when Andrew cupped my breast with a doll made in his image, all I did was laugh.”

Ms Sjoberg testified to the alleged incident in a legal deposition in 2016, describing how Andrew and Ms Roberts sat on a sofa with the puppet.

She added: “And so I sat on Andrew’s lap – and I believe of my own accord – and they took the hands of the puppet and put them on Virginia’s chest, and Andrew therefore put hers on mine, ”she added.

The Duke has always denied having sex with Ms Roberts and any other wrongdoing.

A spokesperson for the duke declined to comment.

Related: Prince Andrew Spent £ 16,000 Private Jet Taxpayer Money on The Open


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