'The Crown Princess of Norway has today admitted meeting paedophile Jeffrey Epstein several times after his conviction in the US and apologised.
Princess Mette-Marit met with the disgraced financier on an unknown number of occasions between 2011 and 2013, following an introduction by mutual acquaintances.
The meetings took place after Epstein was convicted of sex offences, including soliciting a child for prostitution, in 2008.
Epstein was found hanged in his Manhattan jail cell in August this year awaiting a trial in the US on federal charges of sex trafficking.
Meetings between Epstein and the crown princess occurred in social settings, mostly in the US, with one instance of the pair meeting in Norway, according to the Dagens Næringsliv newspaper.
Today the Crown Princess issued an apology for having met the billionaire, who has also dragged fellow royal, Britain's Prince Andrew, into controversy over their friendship.
Andrew's meetings with Epstein and his stays at the billionaire's homes in the US caused charities and businesses to distance themselves from him in the wake of his interview with BBC Newsnight last month.
Her meetings with Epstein began when he was already shrouded in controversy as Prince Andrew was forced to step down as UK trade envoy after he was spotted meeting the financier in New York in 2011.
In a statement issued today following pressure from the DN newspaper, a Norwegian palace spokeswoman said the crown princess was not aware of the seriousness of Epstein's crimes when they met.
It said: 'I never would have associated with Mr. Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of the crimes he committed. I should have investigated his past more thoroughly, and I am sorry that I didn't.'
Read more: Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit admits meeting paedophile Jeffrey Epstein several times following his conviction – despite furore at the time over Prince Andrew's links to the billionaire
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