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‘Nothing guaranteed’ for royals as Andrew’s lawsuit threatens to ‘take focus’ from Jubilee

Royal family ‘rally around the Queen’ says Grant Harrold

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The Royal Family is expected to “rally around the Queen” in the months ahead, as Prince Andrew’s lawsuit continues to make headlines ahead of her Platinum Jubilee celebration next year. According to a former royal aide, there are a “lot of strong feelings” about the allegations of sexual assault facing the Duke of York, and the royals will be reluctant for the issue to overshadow the planned festivities. In a recent update, US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled that the 61-year-old prince must be questioned under oath by mid-July 2022.

Prince Andrew has consistently denied all allegations made against him. 

He has been accused of sexual assault on three occasions by Virginia Giuffre, a former alleged victim of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Ms Giuffre filed the lawsuit under New York’s Child Victims Act on August 10, accusing the Duke of sexually abusing her when she was 17 years old. 

Speaking of the ongoing lawsuit, former royal butler Grant Harrold told Express.co.uk: “It’s very difficult to know how he would be able to go back doing normal duties until it’s resolved one way or another.

“One thing you can see on social media, there’s a lot of strong feelings about it from both sides.”

Speaking of Her Majesty’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee, which is due to take place over a four-day Bank Holiday in June 2022, the former aide said: “I think what’s really important is, because there seem to be so many things that have gone wrong for them in recent months, I think when they have these special occasions people normally rally around the Queen.

“Everybody loves the Queen, even if you’re a Republican I think it’s safe to say you still have respect for the Queen, but these occasions are a chance for people to get together, to celebrate that we’re lucky to have a monarchy and obviously from their point of view, they’re very aware that in the world we’re living today, nothing is guaranteed.

“We hope and pray that we have a monarchy, but nothing is guaranteed.”

Between June 2nd – 5th, the Royal Family will participate in a number of celebrations to mark the Queen’s seven decades on the throne. 

Current plans include a special Trooping the Colour parade, a Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace and a Jubilee pageant throughout London on the Sunday. It is unclear as of yet if Prince Andrew will participate in the festivities.

Prince Andrew case brings ‘sympathy’ for Queen says expert

A pretrial hearing related to the lawsuit facing Andrew is scheduled for next week.

Earlier today, the presiding judge ruled that a 2009 legal document will remain sealed from the public. The document contains the settlement deal reached between Ms Giuffre and Mr Epstein, which the Duke of York’s lawyers say invalidates the sexual assault lawsuit against him.

Andrew Brettler, who is representing the royal, has called the lawsuit “baseless” and said that the settlement deal “releases Prince Andrew and others from any purported liability arising from the claims Ms Giuffre asserted against Prince Andrew here”.

The disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in his prison cell in 2019, after he was arrested for suspected sex trafficking and the solicitation of minors for prostitution.

Earlier this week, Judge Kaplan set a deadline of July 2022 for Andrew to testify under oath in the case.

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He has been accused of sexually assaulting Ms Giuffre once at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and twice at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and New York. 

His accuser has claimed that the Duke acted in full awareness of her age and that she was a “victim of sex trafficking”.

Now 38, she is claiming damages for the “significant emotional and psychological distress and harm” caused by his supposed actions. 

Prince Andrew has categorically denied all allegations against him, telling BBC journalist Emily Maitlis that it “never happened”.

During an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019, he said: “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

In a following statement by Buckingham Palace, he said that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”

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