A PETITION calling for Prince Andrew to be stripped of his “Earl of Inverness” title has passed a major milestone amid fresh controversy around his connections to the paedophile sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Hundreds of new signatures have pushed the petition above 10,000 after Andrew was named in court documents unsealed in the US earlier in the week.

A poll in January 2023 found that 72% of Scots wanted Andrew to lose his Inverness title.

The documents included 40 pieces of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who claimed Prince Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a sofa in Epstein's apartment in 2001, and accusations that Andrew sexually assaulted a minor – referred to as Jane Doe #3.

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The filing – which is believed to be about Virginia Giuffre – alleges Epstein instructed her to “give the prince whatever he demanded and required Jane Doe #3 to report back to him on the details of the sexual abuse”.

The latest batch of legal papers further detailed how Epstein’s former housekeeper claimed Andrew had daily massages when he spent “weeks” at the paedophile financier’s Florida home.

Juan Alessi, who worked at Epstein’s Palm Beach residence, said both Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, were friends with Epstein and the now convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

Buckingham Palace, which no longer speaks for Andrew as he is not a working royal, previously said the allegations are "categorically untrue".

The fresh controversy linked to the US court documents saw Andrew referred to the Metropolitan Police, although officers said no new investigation had been launched.

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Labour leader Keir Starmer (above), the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, said where “credible” accusations are made they should be investigated.

Republic – the anti-monarchist group – reported the duke to Scotland Yard and is calling for the accusations to be properly investigated in the UK.

Reports have suggested that King Charles is preparing to withdraw private funding for the security operation at Prince Andrew’s home.

The Telegraph said Andrew will have to fund the multi-million pound security costs at Royal Lodge himself if he wants to stay in the 30-room mansion in Windsor Great Park.

The move will be seen as the monarch distancing himself publicly from his younger brother, who less than two weeks ago walked to church with the royal family on Christmas Day.

Andrew has strenuously denied all allegations, but in 2022 paid millions to Giuffre to settle a civil case out of court, saying he never met her.

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During his video-taped interview under oath in 2009, Alessi was questioned on the duke’s relationship with Maxwell and Epstein.

Lawyer Katherine Ezell asked whether Andrew and Sarah ever had massages at the Florida home.

Alessi replied: “Prince Andrew did. I think Sarah was there only once and for a short time. I don’t think she slept in there. I cannot remember.

“I think she was visiting Wellington and she came to the house and we met her. But Prince Andrew, yes, Prince Andrew spent weeks with us.”

Ezell then asked: “Where would he sleep?”

Alessi said: “In the main room, the main guest bedroom. That was the blue room.”

The lawyer then said: “And, so, when he would come and stay, during that time would he frequently have massages?”

Alessi replied: “I would say, daily massages.”

The National: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell

In a further interview under oath by an Epstein employee, who is labelled only as “the witness” in the documents, they claimed Maxwell (above with Epstein) took the paedophile financier to England “to introduce him to royalty”.

The staff member said there were “many pictures” of the duke with Epstein in the property they worked at.

They also said they never saw the duke visit the property, but “he called”.

In a resurfaced video-taped interview with Maxwell, the disgraced socialite said she did not know how Epstein met the duke and she insisted she did not introduce them.

Maxwell admitted, however, that there was a Duke of York puppet in Epstein’s New York apartment.

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Andrew was accused by Johanna Sjoberg of groping her breast while posing with what is reported to have been a Spitting Image puppet of himself in Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2001.

Maxwell said she did not recollect putting the hand of the caricature on Sjoberg’s breast.

“There was a puppet – not a puppet – there was a – I don’t know how would you describe it really… a caricature of Prince Andrew that was in Jeffrey’s home,” she said.

A US judge ordered hundreds of documents to be unsealed as part of Giuffre’s previously settled civil claim against Maxwell, which was filed in 2015.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in New York, in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide.