Prince Andrew: Expert discusses impact on Royal Family
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Members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles and Prince William, feel “very strongly” that Prince Andrew should not return to public duties following the latest development in his case with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, according to a royal commentator. The former Jeffrey Epstein victim has filed a civil lawsuit against the Duke on the grounds of sexual abuse, leaving the Queen and the Royal Family to reportedly attend crisis meetings to handle the situation.
Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson have joined the Queen at her Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle.
Royal commentator Rebecca English said: “It’s important to stress that he wasn’t summoned up there for crisis talks as some people have suggested, he was already going up this week on holiday with his family.
“Obviously it’s inevitable, despite the Queen’s dislike of confrontations, it’s inevitable that they’re going to have to talk about it, it’s a front page story around the world.
“I know for a fact that senior courtiers and indeed, members of his own family, most notably the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge are really unhappy with the way this has been handled.
“Prince Charles very strongly feels that as much as he loves his brother as a member of his family, there is no way back for him to public life after this.”
Since November 2019, Prince Andrew has withdrawn from public duties and has ceased representing the Queen at formal engagements.
The decision was made following his disastrous interview with BBC Newsnight, where he denied having any sexual interaction with Ms Giuffre and claimed he was unaware of Jeffrey Epstein’s criminal behaviour.
He told journalist Emily Maitlis in 2019: “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
The interview was described as a “car crash” after the Prince claimed he was unable to sweat due to an “adrenaline overdose” from the Falklands War and said he was at Pizza Express in Woking at the date of their said sexual interaction.
The Duke also said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein, saying: “The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful”.
Prince Andrew first met the disgraced financier in the early 1990s, after they were introduced through mutual friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
The Duke maintained their friendship following Epstein’s conviction in 2008, but terminated their relationship after receiving public backlash.
Ms Giuffre has claimed that on three occasions, she was sexually abused by Prince Andrew and claims he was fully aware that she was only 17 years old.
She filed the civil case on Tuesday under New York’s Child Victims Act.
The case alleges that the prince sexually abused Ms Giuffre at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.
The age of consent in the US Virgin Islands, where he allegedly had a sexual interaction with Ms Giuffre, is 18 years old.
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Lawyers for Ms Giuffre said: “Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account.”
Now 38 years old, she is seeking damages for the “significant emotional and psychological distress and harm” caused by the Duke’s behaviour.
The Duke of York has hired a top legal expert, Clare Montgomery QC, to advise him on possible options, which could see him give evidence in court.
Following his Newsnight interview in 2019, Prince Andrew released the following statement: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
“His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.
“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
Neither he nor Buckingham Palace have yet commented on this latest development.
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