Prince Andrew's ex-girlfriend Koo Stark has broken her 32-year silence over their relationship to shoot to his defence over allegations he slept with a teenage "sex slave".
The 58-year-old artist insists she believes the 54-year-old royal - who has been accused of having three encounters with 31-year-old Virginia Roberts when she was 17 and 18 - to be a "good" and "innocent man" and has only known him to be "honest".
In a piece written in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Koo - who first dated Andrew in 1981 - explained: "I know too much about the media and the law courts to allow the disgrace of an innocent man.
"That is why I have decided to reveal some details of my relationship with Andrew. My view is clear: I believe him to be a good man and I believe I can help rebut, with authority, the allegations against him.
"Prince Andrew is a dear friend and godfather to my daughter. I've only known him to be honourable and honest, with Christian values.
"I couldn't shrug off Virginia Roberts' assassination of his character any more than he has been able to. He was being accused of the very worst kind of behaviour.
"The stain on his reputation is spilling across his life like blood from a new wound."
The photographer also insists Andrew - who went on to marry Sarah Ferguson in 1986 - was a "normal boyfriend" and described him as "playful and tactile".
She said: "This is not the person portrayed by Virginia Roberts.
"I believe she and her lawyers are waging a war through the American courts and invoking his name by way of heavy artillery. American-style litigation takes no prisoners."
Andrew has denied having sex with Virginia, who claims she had three separate encounters with him - in New York, in London and one on the private Caribbean island of the prince's former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Koo's comments come as none of the royal family are able to speak out publicly due to Palace protocol.
A Buckingham Palace statement said: "We would not comment beyond what we have already stated in respect of Virginia Roberts."