Charles ‘sees no way back to public life for Andrew’

Duke of York faces allegations of sexual abuse against a minor and has been linked to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

Kate Ng
Thursday 12 August 2021 16:55
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Prince Andrew sued by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre for alleged sexual abuse

The Prince of Wales has reportedly said his brother, the Duke of York, will never return to public life because of the “spectre” of Prince Andrew’s links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

It comes after Virginia Roberts Giuffre filed a civil suit against Andrew alleging that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17, a minor under US law.

A source close to Prince Charles said he believed that even if the case against Andrew fails, the duke’s association with Epstein was a reminder of the “reputational damage” caused to the family.

According to The Times, they said that while Charles “loves his brother and has the ability to have sympathy for the slings and arrows that his brother endures”, the prince had “long ago concluded that it is probably an unsolvable problem”.

“This will probably further strengthen in the prince’s mind that a way back for the duke is demonstrably not possible, because the spectre of this [accusation] raises its head with hideous regularity,” the source was quoted as saying.

Giuffre first said publicly that she was forced into performing sex acts with Andrew in 2019. She told the BBC at the time that she was trafficked by Epstein as a teenager and forced to have sex with his friends, including the duke.

Andrew stepped back from his royal duties in 2019 following his controversial BBC Newsnight interview, in which he denied any wrongdoing. He later said the controversy had become a “major disruption” to the work of the royal family.

In the interview, he denied ever meeting Giuffre and 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.”

Royal biographer Penny Juror said earlier this year that it was Charles who encouraged the Queen to “insist that Andrew give up public duties”.

According to reports, Andrew is currently at Balmoral with the Queen, his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, and his lawyers as they work on a strategy to fight the lawsuit.

This week, Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, told Sky News that the duke’s legal team have failed to engage with them for the past five years and “totally stonewalled us”.

He said: “We’ve reached out to Prince Andrew’s legal team, a number of times over the last five years, we’ve made an attempt to engage with him to give him an opportunity to tell his side of the story, to provide an explanation or context, that he might have for his actions to try to resolve this without the necessity of litigation.

“Every such effort has been rebuffed. They have totally stonewalled us just like they’ve stonewalled the criminal prosecutors in the United States.

“As a result, we’ve not been able to have a dialogue with him. They have been totally uncooperative, not only with us, but with all of the lawyers representing victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking.”

The Independent has contacted representatives for Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace for comment.

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