Sheltering Prince Andrew at Balmoral and ‘privately funding his fight against US sex abuse lawsuit’ is damaging the Queen’s image, a royal expert has claimed.
The Duke of York, 61, is being sued in New York by Virginia Giuffre, now 38, who claims he sexually abused her on three separate occasions when she was 17 — in London, New York and on billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein‘s Caribbean island.
Andrew, the Queen’s second son, who is not facing any criminal charges, ‘categorically’ denies Ms Giuffre’s allegations against him.
The royal, who is now back at his 30-room mansion at Royal Lodge in Windsor, had spent three weeks at Balmoral with his mother and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, allegedly to avoid having papers notifying him about the bombshell sex case.
Her Majesty, 95, also agreed to pay for the duke’s legal defence last year shortly after his disastrous interview on BBC Newsnight, according to the Daily Telegraph.
But royal correspondent Katie Nicholl told True Royalty TV‘s The Royal Beat that the Queen ‘so publicly supporting Andrew’, who has ‘no accessible money’, is ‘damaging her image’ – particularly in America.
Sheltering Prince Andrew at Balmoral (pictured left) and ‘privately funding his fight against US sex abuse lawsuit’ is damaging the Queen’s (pictured right) image, a royal expert has claimed
Ms Nicholl said: ‘Andrew hasn’t got any… accessible money. They’ve just had to sell their chalet in Verbier – there was a massive mortgage. I don’t think there’s the money you would associate with a dukedom.
‘[The Queen] is giving him shelter. She is allowing him at Balmoral and allowing him to sort of hide in her skirts. And I think that is for the Queen’s image, particularly in America, it is damaging for her.
‘People are concerned that the Queen is so publicly supporting Andrew,’ Ms Nicholl concluded.
It comes after it was revealed that Andrew’s legal team will be allowed to review a previously secret settlement which his lawyers hope will shield him from the sex abuse lawsuit in the US.
Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl (pictured) told True Royalty TV ‘s The Royal Beat that the Queen ‘so publicly supporting Andrew’, who has ‘no accessible money’, is ‘damaging her image’
Sarah Ferguson ‘is likely to be subpoenaed’ if Prince Andrew fails to get Virginia Roberts’ case thrown out of court in New York
Relatives, aides and even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson could be forced into courtrooms to answer questions about Prince Andrew should the Duke’s sex abuse case get the green light to go ahead in New York later this month.
The Duke is privately preparing to hand over ‘personal documents’ in an intrusive process that could see relatives and Royal aides dragged into proceedings, reports the Telegraph.
That could include ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, who has remained fiercely loyal to the embattled Duke, who is likely to face subpoena if Andrew fails to get his case thrown out.
Royal insiders fear any such move would be a ‘pretty traumatic’ process that Andrew’s lawyers would only ever enter with ‘due caution’, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
The Duke has until October 29 to respond to the civil suit, with a remote hearing scheduled for November 3.
Ms Giuffre, who has also accused Epstein of abuse, signed a settlement deal with the financier in 2009 as part of a Florida state case – to which the duke was not a party.
The deal between her and Esptein, who died in his jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges, has remained confidential.
Epstein’s estate had agreed to let Prince Andrew’s legal team review the legal document, but court approval was needed.
At a hearing in Manhatten yesterday, District Judge Loretta Preska granted the approval.
At a hearing last month, Andrew Brettler, a lawyer for the prince, told the judge overseeing Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit that he believed the agreement ‘absolves our client from any and all liability.’
During the first pre-trial hearing of the case last month, he said: ‘There has been a settlement agreement that the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the duke and others from any and all potential liability.’
However, David Boies, one of the lawyers representing Ms Giuffre, said in a court filing last month that he believed the settlement was ‘irrelevant’ to her case against the prince.
He said: ‘Although we believe that the release is irrelevant to the case against Prince Andrew, now that service has been accepted and the case is proceeding to a determination on the merits, we believe that counsel for Prince Andrew have a right to review the release and to make whatever arguments they believe appropriate based on it.’
Mr Brettler said in an email he expects to receive the agreement soon from Ms Giuffre’s lawyers.
Ms Giuffre is accusing the prince of having sex with her knowing she had been trafficked by Epstein and she was underage.
She alleged this took place at the London home of Epstein’s longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
She also said the prince abused her at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan, and on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
At a hearing last month, Andrew Brettler (pictured right), a lawyer for the prince, told the judge overseeing Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit that he believed the agreement ‘absolves our client from any and all liability.’ However, David Boies (pictured left), one of the lawyers representing Ms Giuffre, said in a court filing last month that he believed the settlement was ‘irrelevant’ to her case against the prince
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein, the duke’s former friend, to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars. Andrew faces an October 29 deadline to formally respond to Giuffre’s lawsuit.
Epstein, a registered sex offender, killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to helping recruit and groom underage girls for Epstein to abuse. Her trial in Manhattan is scheduled for November 29.
The news comes as it was claimed the Queen is spending millions of pounds funding Andrew’s fight against the sex abuse allegations.
Royal courtiers are said to expect the final legal bill to run into millions as the civil case against Andrew lingers for months or even years.
And a potential settlement or damages payout would cost millions more on top of the overall bill.
The Royal Beat – available on True Royalty TV