‘I will fight on’: Prince Andrew strikes defiant tone after being stripped of his royal and military titles as he faces sex abuse lawsuit as a private citizen – with allies insisting case is ‘a marathon not a sprint’
- Source close to the royal said he will ‘continue to defend himself’ against claims
- He was stripped of his HRH title, military roles and royal patronages by Queen
- A judge dismissed his attempt to have the case thrown out of US court
Prince Andrew will ‘continue to defend himself’ against the sex abuse lawsuit after the Queen stripped him of his royal titles and military patronages today, a source has said.
The Duke of York will no longer be known as His Royal Highness ‘in any official capacity’ in a stunning downfall as his family abandoned him to fight his sex abuse lawsuit in America as a private citizen.
Today, a source close to the royal said he would continue to fight Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s allegations after the judge dismissed his legal team’s attempt to have the case thrown out.
The source said: ‘Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling.
‘However, it was not a judgement on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations.
‘This is a marathon not a sprint and the duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.’
Prince Andrew will ‘continue to defend himself’ against the sex abuse lawsuit after the Queen stripped him of his royal titles
Andrew was left with ‘only bad options’, legal experts said, after his bid to have the case thrown out was dismissed.
Despite pleas for Andrew to ‘do the right thing for the Queen’ and offer his accuser millions to avoid a trial, the duke appeared to be digging in for the long haul.
His accuser, Jeffrey Epstein sex slave Virginia Roberts, was, however, said to be determined to snub any offer of cash in favour of having her day in court.
Their positions dramatically raised the likelihood of a showdown between the Queen’s second son and Miss Roberts in a New York court this autumn.
In a crushing ruling this week, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the senior royal’s arguments for cancelling the case. Miss Roberts, who is suing Andrew for undisclosed damages under her married name of Giuffre, alleges she was forced to
Andrew has been accused of trying to ‘dodge, duck, run and hide’ from the case, initially by using his mother’s palaces to avoid being served with the legal papers.
After that failed, he came out fighting with his US lawyer branding Miss Roberts a ‘money-hungry sex kitten’ who had ‘initiated this baseless lawsuit to achieve another payday’. Last week, the duke – who strenuously denies all the accusations – attempted to have the case struck out in a crunch hearing in Manhattan. But his bid was comprehensively dismissed by Judge Kaplan on Wednesday.
Today, a source close to the royal said he would continue to fight Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s allegations
It led to widespread calls for him to stump up millions to settle the case rather than submit himself to a humiliating and disastrous courtroom grilling about his sex life in the Platinum Jubilee year.But last night Miss Roberts’ lawyer, David Boies, vowed that she would not give in, even if offered a bonanza cash settlement.
He said: ‘She wants to achieve justice. I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates other victims.’
Mr Boies said there had been ‘no suggestion’ of a settlement discussion at this point. He said that Miss Roberts had previously ‘reached out’ to Prince Andrew offering to find a settlement to avoid going to court but ‘there was no interest in that at that time’.
‘Whether that has changed or not I think we will have to wait and see,’ the attorney added.
But he stressed: ‘A purely financial settlement is not anything that I think she is interested in.’
The price for Andrew settling with Miss Roberts appears to be high. She will likely demand not just cash, but a grovelling statement and admission of contrition.
Miss Roberts alleges she was recruited as a 16-year-old in Florida by Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
Last night, Prince Andrew’s lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic were locked in crisis talks after their motion to dismiss the civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts (pictured middle) was ‘denied in all respects’, meaning the case is now heading towards an unedifying trial this autumn
Paedophile Epstein killed himself in 2019, rather than face trial, while last month Maxwell was found guilty of presiding over a scheme recruiting children for sex with Epstein. Miss Roberts – who was not part of the Maxwell case – alleges she was loaned out to Epstein’s wealthy and powerful friends including Prince Andrew.
He strenuously denies all the claims, and says he does not even remember meeting Miss Roberts. The infamous photograph of them together in London in March 2001 where his hand is squeezing the teenager’s bare midriff could have been faked, he has suggested.
After Andrew’s failed bid to have Miss Roberts’ case thrown out, the case moves into the next stage.This includes the prospect of him having to give a ‘deposition’ under oath. On pain of being jailed for perjury if he lied, the prince would submit to a video-taped testimony under questioning.
His answers in the session, which could take place in London, could be used as evidence in the trial.
Mr Boies said: ‘The next step for sure is the taking of evidence, the taking of evidence from Prince Andrew, the taking of evidence from Virginia Giuffre and the taking of evidence from others. There will certainly be additional evidence, which is coming out all the time. People have come forward that had not come forward before to identify seeing Prince Andrew and Virginia together.’
Andrew’s troubles were exacerbated by his car-crash BBC Newsnight interview in 2019.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement this afternoon, which read: ‘With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen’
Mr Boies said: ‘He made a lot of statements in that interview. He’s made a lot of those statements elsewhere. His approach has been deny, deny deny, to blame Virginia, to criticise her, to attack her character, to attack her morals, attack her credibility. And we will see how all that plays out under oath.’
Judge Kaplan has set July 14 as the deadline for depositions.
Buckingham Palace announced the Queen’s decision to cast Andrew out of the royal fold in a statement released this afternoon.
‘With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,’ it read. ‘The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.’
A royal source said the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, were involved in crisis talks over the matter. The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family.
The Palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019. But, prior to today, he still retained the roles, including the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest and most emblematic regiments in the British Army.
His other British honorary military titles are: Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth; Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment; Colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps; Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm; Royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers; Deputy colonel-in-chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own); and Royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
He is only the 5th royal in recent history to stop using the HRH title, with Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York, losing the styling after their divorce, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle agreed to lose theirs as part of their ‘Megxit’ deal with the Queen.
The decision to shred Andrew’s military ties is likely to be particularly painful for the Royal Navy veteran, who served with distinction as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War.
It comes after more than 150 veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand Andrew was removed from the honorary military positions.
Accusing the duke of bringing the services he is associated with into disrepute, the 152 former members of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army said that ‘were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post’. The Queen is head of the armed forces and honorary military appointments are in her gift.
It came as reports suggested he could avoid a trial by using the sale of his £18million Swiss chalet to try to pay off Ms Giuffre with at least £10million of the proceeds.
MailOnline revealed this week that Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, the Duchess of York, settled a £6.6 million debt with a French socialite, paving the way for him to sell his beloved ski chalet to fund his alleged sex abuse case.
Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, sold her house, Chalet Helora, to her then-friends Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £18million, would be paid for in instalments. But Ms de Rouvre claimed the Yorks failed to make the final instalment of £5m for the property in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier – but this week the Yorks stumped up the cash, ending the legal battle and clearing the way for a sale.
With the chalet now on the market, the ninth in line to the throne will use up to £10million of the final sale price to settle with Ms Giuffre, according to The Sun, but without admission of liability to her claims she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was 17. He has repeatedly denied the claims.
Mark Stephens, an expert in constitutional law, has said that Andrew will need to find between £5million and £10million to offer Ms Giuffre and hope she spares him a trial.
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