Britain's Prince Andrew has "categorically" denied having sex with an alleged teen victim of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who claims she was forced to sleep with the royal, in an extraordinary interview broadcast on UK television on Saturday.In an unprecedented hour-long conversation with the BBC's Newsnight programme, Andrew insisted he had "no recollection" of ever having met his accuser, Virginia Roberts.READ | Jeffrey Epstein death ruled as suicide by hanging: US mediaThe prince also conceded his continued association with Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution had let the royal family down - but that he did not believe it had damaged the reputation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II."I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," Andrew told the BBC's Emily Maitlis, on the allegations he had sex with Roberts, now Giuffre, on three occasions."I've said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever."I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," he added.Andrew, 59 - eighth in line to the throne - has been heavily criticised over his links to multimillionaire Epstein, who was found dead in a New York jail in August.Suicide by hangingA coroner ruled that he committed suicide by hanging, while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.Epstein had pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring a girl under the age of 18 for prostitution and served 13 months in a US prison before being released on probation.Nonetheless Andrew, who hosted him at Windsor Castle and remained in contact immediately following his release, is adamant it has not tarnished Britain's head of state."I don't believe it's been damaging to the Queen at all, it has to me," he said."The wider family couldn't have been more supportive," he noted."It has been, what I would describe as a constant sore in the family," the father-of-two added of the impact on his immediate family.Andrew said he felt compelled to speak out now."It's almost a mental health issue to some extent for me in the sense that it's been nagging at my mind for a great many years."The BBC interview, filmed at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, is the first time the prince has answered questions on his relationship with Epstein.PhotoIn 2015, he used a public appearance at Davos in Switzerland to deny the claims.The royal, who repeatedly insisted he was "not close" to the disgraced financier, discussed a photograph showing him with his arm around then 17-year-old Roberts, now Giuffre, with Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell in the background.Andrew cast doubt on the picture's veracity, which he described as "a photograph of a photograph of a photograph"."I don't believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested," he said, claiming he had never been in the upstairs area of Maxwell's London flat where it was taken."Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don't recollect that photograph ever being taken."