Virginia Roberts – the woman who claims she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was only 17 – is seriously ill in hospital.
Ms Roberts, 36, announced she has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis as she shared a photo taken in her hospital bed.
Two months after being tested for coronavirus, the American mum, who now lives in Cairns, Australia, with her husband Robert and three children, tweeted: “Back in hospital – again. This time bacterial meningitis.
“Went to the rainforest for the weekend with the fam and came back with something from the jungle.”
Ms Roberts, also known by her married surname Giuffre, suggested her immune system may have been compromised “with so much going on” in her life.
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She told how she recently bought a dog, hoping it would help to relieve stress.
In April, Ms Roberts said she had suffered breathing difficulties, a fever and a cough.
Her coronavirus test came back negative and she said she was battling an upper respiratory infection and was diagnosed with pnuemonia.
Bacterial meningitis is the rapid inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord, and is the most serious type of meningitis.
It can cause death in as little as a few hours or permanent disabilities such as brain damage or hearing loss.
Symptoms can include sudden onset of a fever, headache or stiff neck.
The germs that cause bacterial meningitis can be spread from one person to another. Depending on the type of bacteria, it could be through coughing, sneezing, kissing, other forms of close contact or childbirth.
Ms Roberts alleges she was recruited as a teenager and forced to be a “sex slave” for paedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein and some of his associates.
She claims she had sex with Andrew three times – once in London, once at Epstein’s Manhattan apartment, and once at the paedophile’s home in the Caribbean.
The Duke of York has repeatedly denied having sex with the American woman, calling the allegations “false” and “without foundation”.
Meanwhile, Andrew is said to have admitted his Newsnight interview over his friendship with Epstein is a “source of regret”.
His car crash appearance on the BBC last November, during which he denied knowing his sex accuser Ms Roberts, led to him stepping down from public life.
The Duke of York’s admittance comes in stark contrast to reports he told the Queen his interview with presenter Emily Maitlis, was “a great success”.
Sources close to the Andrew, 60, insist he believes the decision to speak out was correct, but he realises his failure to apologise to Epstein’s victims was a mistake.
An insider said: “I don’t think he regrets the intention behind the interview, which was to clear the air for his family, but the fact he was unable to convey his sympathy for the victims of Epstein is, of course, a source of regret.”
During the interview, Andrew vehemently denied Ms Roberts’ claims that they had sex three times in 2001 when she was 17-years-old.
On the night she alleges they slept together in London in March of that year Andrew said he recalled visiting Pizza Express in Woking with Princess Beatrice.
He also refuted Ms Roberts’ claim he sweated profusely while dancing with her at London’s Tramp nightclub claiming at the time he was unable to perspire through a condition picked up while in the Falklands War.
Sources say Andrew, who was forced to quit as UK Trade Envoy in 2011 after he was pictured walking in New York’s Central Park with Epstein, “will never return to royal duties”.
The Prince is currently working for former wife Sarah Ferguson’s charity delivering supplies to hospitals.
Andrew’s feeling of regret came as it was revealed he will not co-operate with the ongoing criminal investigation into Epstein unless US authorities offer him “an olive branch”.
Last week a diplomatic row broke out after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote to the Home Office to ask formally to interview the Duke about his relationship with the late American financier, who died by suicide last August while awaiting trial for underage sex trafficking.
Andrew responded saying he had already offered his help as a witness on three occasions and accused prosecutors of breaking confidentially rules and issuing “complete lies.”
It came after New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, who is heading the inquiry into Epstein, said in January the Prince had provided “zero co-operation” to their investigation.
After Andrew’s legal team said last week, he had offered to talk with the FBI, Mr Berman responded by accused his lawyers of lying.
“Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate with an investigation into sex trafficking and related offences committed by Jeffrey Epstein and his associates,” he said.
Calls are increasing for the Duke to lose his HRH title.
Writer Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace, said: “Prince Andrew is virtually retired and can no longer carry out royal duties.
“So surely he should give up the HRH title and the money he receives from the Privy Purse.”