Prince Andrew arrived in Balmoral for a holiday with the Queen last night – just 24 hours after a bombshell US lawsuit accused him of sex abuse.
The beleaguered royal and his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York, drove into the monarch’s private Scottish estate for their annual August jaunt while his lawyers held crisis talks over the case launched by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
She alleged she was sexually abused by Andrew when she was 17 and that he knew she was the teenage victim of sex trafficking.
Miss Roberts claims she was forced to have sex with him and was ‘lent out for sexual purposes’ by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Yesterday a lawyer described the legal action as a ‘grenade waiting to go off’.
Astonishingly Andrew, 61, has yet to make any public comment about the lawsuit and instead travelled to Scotland with his ex-wife.
His dog arrived at Balmoral in a separate car an hour earlier, suggesting the prince could be planning a lengthy stay. The Duke of York has previously denied claims he abused Miss Roberts and forced her into sex during a visit to London more than two decades ago.
The Queen’s second son stepped back from royal duties over his relationship with late financier Epstein and insiders said the lawsuit effectively ended any ambition he held of a return to public life.
Andrew, who normally flies to Aberdeen by private jet for his visits to Balmoral, appeared to have taken steps to avoid photographers this time after apparently flying to a different airport, or even driving the whole way.
Legal experts said the civil case could drag on for years and threatened to be a millstone around his – and the Royal Family’s – neck for years to come.
A US lawyer warned the lawsuit would be devastating for the prince’s reputation and could force him to answer questions about his own sexual history, as well as his relationship with Epstein.
Miss Roberts’ legal team could interrogate Andrew over whether he had faced any allegation of sexual misconduct or impropriety in the past, a US lawyer told the Daily Mail.
Prince Andrew has been spotted arriving at Balmoral Castle accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson – as he prepares to face the Queen a day after being sued in New York for allegedly sexually abusing Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts
Andrew, who was driving a Range Rover, held a stern expression while the Duchess of York appeared to be holding conversation while sat in the back seat
Andrew’s arrival at Balmoral comes as the lawyer for Epstein victim Virginia Roberts accused the Prince of ‘ignoring’ him after a civil suit was filed against him yesterday. The Duke of York has always vehemently denied all charges made by Virginia Roberts
The Duke today travelled to Scotland to join other members of the royal family for the tradition summer stay at Balmoral. The Queen, on her first trip to the castle after the death of her husband Prince Philip, arrived yesterday to a guard of honour in a small ceremony outside the castle gates
Her Majesty The Queen, 95, arrived for her traditional summer holiday at Balmoral yesterday. She is seen here during an inspection of the Balaklava Company, 5 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland at the gate
They would also be entitled to demand access to any communications between him, Epstein and the convicted sex offender’s alleged ‘madam’, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. The lawyer, who asked not to be named, said: ‘It will be a train wreck for him. This case is a grenade waiting to go off.’
Andrew has 21 days to respond to Miss Roberts’ claim and if he fails to do so, she could ask the court to find in her favour without the need for a trial, which would be potentially disastrous for his reputation.
It would raise the prospect of the ninth in line to the throne being branded a sex offender, and facing a demand for damages which could run into millions of pounds.
Such an outcome would cause enormous personal distress to the 95-year-old Queen but would also leave an indelible ‘stain’ on the reputation of the Royal Family, according to one royal expert.
Last night Buckingham Palace declined to comment and referred all inquiries to the Duke of York’s legal team.
In the legal claim, lawyers said Epstein, Maxwell and the prince had all forced Miss Roberts to have sex with Andrew against her will after she was trafficked to London.
They alleged Andrew also sexually abused the teenager at Epstein’s mansion in New York and at his private island in the US Virgin Islands, Little Saint James.
The legal document, filed to a court in New York, said Miss Roberts, now 38 and a married mother-of-three known by her married name Virginia Giuffre, had suffered ‘severe and lasting’ damage.
The lawsuit went on: ‘In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection.
‘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.’
Miss Roberts’ lawyer David Boies told Channel 4 News he had made repeated attempts to contact Andrew about the case, but claimed the prince and his lawyers had ‘stonewalled’ and ignored him.
Mr Boies said: ‘We’ve made every effort to reach out to him to hear his side of the story to understand whether he has anything that he can say that would put his actions in context.
‘And he has simply ignored us, and he can do that, but he can’t ignore judicial process.
‘This is now a matter for the courts to decide. And it would be very ill advised I think for anyone to sort of thumb their nose at a federal court. If he did, obviously there would be a default judgment entered against him, which I think no one really wants to have happen.’
He added: ‘They just have totally stonewalled, they have refused to provide any explanation, they refuse to engage in any discussions, they refuse to provide any facts. They’ve even refused to respond to any of the allegations that been made in any reasonable way.’
Referring to the now-infamous photograph of the prince with his arm around Miss Roberts, he said a jury would have to consider if Andrew had been truthful about whether they had met. Her case is a civil lawsuit seeking unspecified damages – not a criminal case.
But experts warned evidence uncovered during civil proceedings could potentially be used by criminal authorities.
Andrew has always strongly denied any wrongdoing.
Virginia Roberts’ lawyer David Boies today claimed Andrew and his lawyers had ‘stonewalled’ against the claims for five years but warned: ‘He can ignore me and he can ignore Virginia, but he can’t ignore judicial process’
Prince Andrew is seen driving his car in Windsor earlier this year. He is yet to respond to her suit, filed in New York City on Monday
Prince Andrew is pictured with his mother, the Queen, his brother Prince Charles and, behind them, Princess Anne in June 2019. The Queen has diplomatic immunity; her children do not
The Duke of York and the Queen attending St Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, Sandringham, Norfolk, last year
A spokesperson for Prince Andrew told MailOnline this evening there would be ‘no comment’ on the civil suit.
Prince Andrew arrived to Balmoral a day after Her Majesty, 95, who was welcomed back with a guard of honour in a small ceremony outside the castle gates – her first trip to Balmoral since the death of Prince Philip aged 99 in April.
Andrew may have been comforted to have his ex-wife Fergie by his side for the trip, after she was invited to stay as long as her ex-husband did. It was previously reported the Duchess would have to leave before Prince Philip turned up.
However there may be awkward conversations for Andrew in his first meeting with his mother following the filing of the civil suit by Miss Roberts yesterday.
The accuser, now 38, is seeking ‘significant’ damages from The Duke of York claiming she was sexually assault by him in New York, the Caribbean and London in 2001 – when she was 17 and he was 41.
Prince Andrew is under no obligation to travel to America to defend himself against the allegations – which he has repeatedly denied – because courts can’t extradite citizens in civil cases.
But legal experts say if he choses not to take part in the case, he could still face a trial in the civil courts in his absence.
Before it reaches that stage, however, experts say that the Duke could instruct US lawyers to try and strike out Ms Roberts’ law suit by claiming it to be ‘spurious’.
If a judge throws out the case, then Prince Andrew will not need to attend anyway. But if a judge decides the case should be heard, then a civil jury is likely to be called, according to Aamer Anwar – a civil rights lawyer and activist from Scotland.
Mr Anwar says that if the Duke choses not to appear, the trial could go ahead in absentia – his absence. If the jury rules in Miss Roberts favour, Mr Anwar says Prince Andrew could be forced to pay damages ‘into the millions and millions of dollars’.
After looking at any possible US assets, Mr Anwar says the courts could then apply to claim assets in Britain through the UK courts – in a way similar to how foreign assets are seized in high profile divorce cases.
He also believes that any judgment against Prince Andrew in the US could put pressure on UK authorities to take action – with one of the sex abuse claims made by Ms Roberts allegedly taking place in London.
And, in a further blow to the Prince, royal experts today claimed the case could scupper any plans by the Duke to return to frontline royal duties.
It comes as it was today revealed that Prince Andrew does not have diplomatic immunity – a privilege which is reserved for the Queen and her immediate household.
It means that the senior royal may be brought before a court if he sets foot in the US or any of its territories – at which point a court could compel him to give evidence.
But legal experts say that will only happen if Prince Andrew willingly goes to the US. That is because Roberts’ claim is a civil case, rather than a criminal one, meaning he cannot be extradited, according to experts.
Mr Anwar told MailOnline: ‘The first thing is this is a civil case and under the terms of the extradition treaty, the U.S. Department of Justice can only extradite if there is a criminal prosecution.’
However, Mr Anwar added: ‘It’s not a matter that will simply go away. As I understand it, there is still an ongoing criminal investigation.’
Princess Anne is seen arriving in court in the British town of Slough in November 2002. She pleaded guilty to her dog attacking children
‘If they were to raise a prosecution, they would be well within their rights to seek Prince Andrew,’ he said.
Mr Anwar also believes that, should the civil case proceed without Prince Andrew appearing in New York, the Duke could still be found liable in absentia and be required to pay compensation to Roberts.
He added: ‘The court would find ways in which to obtain those assets. And the complainant’s country can pursue actions against Prince Andrew to chase his assets.’
Asked how much the damages cost could be, he said: ‘It would be up to a jury, but I would think it could be in the millions and millions of dollars’.
However, before any of this, Mr Anwar said Prince Andrew’s legal team will likely to try and have the case thrown out.
He said: ‘I think the first thing he will do is instruct lawyers on the ground in the US to act for him, and to try and have the case thrown out as a ‘spurious’ case.’
The comments come as royal journalist and author, Robert Jobson today told MailOnline that the lawsuit would make any planned return to public life for the Duke ‘impossible’.
He said: ‘I cannot envisage the Duke, no matter how much he might want to returning to being a senior royal to supper the Queen while a suit is pending, or with the possibility of a verdict against him passed in his absence.
Prince Andrew has ex-wife Fergie at his side after Duchess is brought back into royal fold
As Prince Andrew is again hit by accusations of sexual abuse from Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts, he appears to have an unlikely companion at his side.
In one of the most dramatic cases of royal redemption, the Prince’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson is accompanying him to Balmoral where he will face his mother for the first time since a civil suit was filed against him in New York.
Fergie was exiled from the firm following her divorce from Andrew in 1996.
The Duchess of York has however become a lodger at her ex-husband’s Royal Lodge home in Windsor, and has slowly but surely been welcomed back into the fold.
And last week, the Mail revealed that Fergie had been invited to stay at the Queen’s Scottish retreat this summer.
There will also be a major difference because, unlike previous visits, when she had to make a quick getaway before Prince Philip arrived, the Duchess can stay at Balmoral for as long as her ex-husband.
It is believed the Queen has appreciated the loyalty that Sarah has demonstrated to the Royal Family since her divorce and has been impressed by the close relationship she has maintained with Andrew, 61.
The Duchess has also said she is ‘100 per cent’ certain that Andrew is telling the truth about his part in the scandal surrounding convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
She told the Financial Times: ‘I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.’
When asked why she was sure of his probity, she replied: ‘No question. I know everything about him. I think he is an extraordinary person.’
The Duchess said she and Andrew, who split in 1996, were ‘the happiest divorced couple in the world’, living under the same roof at Royal Lodge, Windsor, but with their own rooms.
‘We support each other like pillars of strengths,’ she added.
‘Obviously there is a question over legal jurisdictions and I am sure the Duke’s team will be looking at every angle. I cannot see them volunteering him to give evidence, or going to the US as it will leave him exposed legally.
‘I suspect he will remain silent and continue to follow his lawyers advice. This of course was her only options and she only had until Saturday to lodge this civil case.’
Miss Robert’s case is the first time that Prince Andrew has been the subject of a suit. Previously his name was mentioned in connection with pedophile Epstein, but until now he had not been directly targeted.
In June 2020, the then-US Attorney General Bill Barr said that he was not seeking extradition as part of the investigation into Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
‘I don’t think it’s a question of handing him over,’ Barr said. ‘I think it’s just a question of having him provide some evidence’
Meanwhile, royal commenter Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline that he sees ‘no conceivable chance’ of case leading to a court appearance for Prince Andrew.
He said: ‘As I understand it the real reason for this court case is to do with issue of statute of limitation (the time in which a person must submit a civil claim).
‘But I don’t think that there’s a conceivable chance (that he will appear in court), given the way things have been handled so far.
‘Prince Andrew said in his BBC interview that he was willing to co-operate with the FBI (in their investigation into Epstein), but he doesn’t appear, from reports, to have co-operated so far. So I see absolutely nil chance.
‘But this case will bring more embarrassment for him and for the royal family – as is anything to do with Andrew and Epstein,’ Fitzwilliams added.
One thing Prince Andrew won’t be able to do is rely on diplomatic immunity to protect him. That privilege in the case of royals is only for the Queen and members of her immediate household.
Bob Morris, a constitutional law professor at UCL said in 2019: ‘[Sovereign immunity] is a concept devised to protect the position of heads of state, but heads of state only, not the members of their family in their function as head of state. And you can’t have more than one head of the state.
‘So it doesn’t apply to the members of people’s families, there is no logic in doing so. Andrew is in the same position as any other UK citizen.’
In 1978 Andrew’s older brother Prince Charles was sued after a visit to Ohio the year before following a bizarre confrontation with a student.
Before his address to the University of Cleveland, third-year law student Jack Kilroy, stood up and asked the Prince: ‘I would like to know when England is going to stop torturing political prisoners?’
He was escorted out of the building, and then filed a civil complaint against Prince Charles for alleged deprivation of ‘various rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.’
The US Attorney General, upon the recommendation of the State Department, filed a suggestion of immunity with the court, on the view that the acts he allegedly committed were performed in his official capacity.
The court did not get as far as arguing whether Charles could be extradited for the civil case.
Andrew’s visit to the US to see Epstein was entirely in a personal capacity, and so he would not be granted the same leeway.
Andrew could certainly be charged with an offence in the UK, if there were grounds to do so, although there is no indication of any such allegations being made there.
His sister Princess Anne in 2002 became the first senior Royal to be convicted of a criminal offence after pleading guilty to a charge that one of her dogs attacked two children.
The court also ordered her to keep the English bull terrier – known as Dotty – on a lead in public, to organise training for the animal and to pay £148 ($205) court costs.
She was fined £500 ($693) and ordered to pay £500 compensation. No other senior royal has attended court for 100 years, the BBC said at the time.
In late 2019, Andrew vowed to assist with any investigation. ‘Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,’ he said in a statement.
At the time Buckingham Palace announced in a statement that Andrew would be suspended from public duties for the ‘foreseeable future,’ with the consent of the Queen.
Soon after, he gave up his role as chancellor of the University of Huddersfield and stepped down from all of his 230 patronages.
In January 2020, the Home Office recommended that the prince’s security detail be downgraded. All activities carried out by the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust have also been stopped.
He is now a permanently nonactive member of the royal family, with no public-facing duties required of him.
Yet in January 2020 the United States attorney in Manhattan publicly called out the prince for breaking his commitment.
Prince Andrew is seen in Windsor on July 23 – what would have been his 35th wedding anniversary. He and Sarah Ferguson separated in 1992, and divorced in 1996
‘To date, Prince Andrew has provided zero cooperation,’ said the prosecutor, Geoffrey S. Berman.
Typically, if American prosecutors wanted to speak with a witness in Britain, the F.B.I. would go through its legal attaché in London, based in the United States embassy there.
Andrew is considered highly unlikely to risk traveling to the United States, even though he has not been charged with any crime.
He could be hauled before the FBI for questioning, and prosecutors could decide to request a subpoena from a judge if there is suspicion of criminal behaviour.
He could ‘take the 5th’ and invoke his right against self-incrimination, and refuse to answer questions.
Daniel Sternberg, a barrister specialising in extradition law at Temple Garden Chambers in London, told the BBC: ‘It is important to remember that Prince Andrew has not been charged with any offence in the US.
‘The FBI is investigating whether he has material evidence that could assist in its criminal investigation of alleged sex trafficking.
‘While there is no way to compel Prince Andrew to give evidence in the UK or the US in either the civil or criminal case, his failure to do so does not sit well with his previous public statements that he would help any appropriate law enforcement agency with its inquiries.’
Andrew’s lawyers insist they have been open and willing to cooperate. They have yet to comment on Monday’s civil case.
In her court filings on Monday, Miss Roberts accused the Duke of York of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the lawsuit filed in federal court.
The lawsuit – filed on Roberts’ 38th birthday – claims that she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times on the orders of Epstein.
It was filed under a law in New York that relates to child abuse as Miss Roberts was considered a minor at the time under state law.
The filing of a civil action against the Duke in America is certain to cause huge embarrassment for the Royal family. Virginia Roberts is pictured in Australia in February 2011
It lists Miss Roberts as the plaintiff and the defendant as ‘Prince Andrew, Duke of York a/k/a Andrew Albert Christian Edward’ as the defendant.
The lawsuit claims that ‘Prince Andrew intentionally committed battery by sexually assaulting Plaintiff when she was a minor.
‘On multiple occasions Prince Andrew intentionally touched (Roberts) in an offensive and sexual manner without her consent’.
Under the section of the lawsuit that deals with the formal allegation of intentional infliction of emotional distress, the lawsuit is withering about the Duke.
It says: ‘Prince Andrew’s actions, described above, constitute extreme and outrageous conduct that shocks the conscience.
‘Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse of a child who he knew was a sex-trafficking victim, and when he was approximately 40 years old, goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilised community’.
The lawsuit claims that Andrew was one of the ‘powerful men’ who Epstein loaned Roberts out to for sex.
The document accuses the Duke of ‘publicly feigning ignorance about the scope of Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation and sympathy for Epstein’s victims’ then refusing to cooperate with the FBI.
The lawsuit notes that ‘defendant Prince Andrew is a citizen of the United Kingdom, and is currently residing at the Royal Lodge at Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, United Kingdom, where he is domiciled’.
During each of the alleged incidents with Miss Roberts, Andrew was acting in a ‘personal capacity’ and not in any role for the Royal family or the UK government, the lawsuit notes.
Andrew has always strongly denied any wrongdoing and claimed he has never even met Roberts, now a mother-of-three living in Australia who goes by her married name, Virginia Giuffre.
In a statement to ABC News, Miss Roberts said: ‘I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me.
‘The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice.
‘I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates.
‘But I knew that if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down’.
Miss Roberts has made similar allegations before in US court documents but this is the first time she has sued the Duke directly.
She claims that the first time she was forced to have sex with Andrew was at the London townhouse of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged madam.
The second time, in early 2001 was at Epstein’s New York mansion, it is alleged.
The lawsuit states: ‘During this encounter, Maxwell forced Plaintiff, a child, and another victim to sit on Prince Andrew’s lap as Prince Andrew touched her.
‘During his visit to New York, Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff to engage in sex acts against her will’.
The third alleged incident is said to have taken place on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean.
During each incident, Miss Roberts claims she was was ‘compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts’ with the Duke.
Miss Roberts ‘feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority’, it is claimed.
Andrew allegedly had sex with Roberts knowing she was a victims of sex trafficking, it is claimed.
The Duke also knew her age from ‘communications with Epstein and Maxwell’, she says.
The lawsuit claims: ‘Prince Andrew sexually abused (Roberts) for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desires’.
The two formal allegations are battery and infliction of emotional distress.
Under the claim for battery, the lawsuit states Andrew’s actions ‘constitute sexual offenses as defined in (New York law) including but not limited to sexual misconduct as defined (as) rape in the third degree, rape in the first degree’.
It also claims the Duke’s conduct amounted to ‘forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree, and sexual abuse in the first degree’.
The ‘sexual assault’ Roberts caused her ‘significant emotional and psychological distress and harm’, it is claimed.
The lawsuit states: ‘As a direct and proximate result of Prince Andrew’s criminal acts, Plaintiff has in the past and will in the future continue to suffer substantial damages, including extreme emotional distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy’.
The filing mentions that Andrew has failed to cooperate with the criminal investigation by the FBI into Epstein and Maxwell, despite promising to do so in his disastrous Newsnight interview.
The lawsuit states: ‘In this country no person, whether President or Prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection.
‘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.’
The lawsuit was filed under the New York Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in 2019. Previously victims had up to five years after they turned 18 to file a claim
The one-off window gave all victims the opportunity to make a legal claim, regardless of how old their claim was.
A defamation suit, filed by Roberts in 2015 against Ghislaine Maxwell, ended in a settlement – but deeply embarrassing depositions in which Maxwell discussed her sex life were made public last year.
A source said: ‘This could be devastating for Andrew. If he chooses to fight it and is deposed [forced to give evidence], then those depositions could end up being made public.
‘If he ignores it, he could be found guilty in absentia which would be a public relations disaster.’
Epstein hanged himself in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Maxwell, 59, was arrested last July and is due to go on trial in November for allegedly recruiting underage girls for Epstein. She has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Duchess Sarah Ferguson stands by her ex-husband Prince Andrew saying she is ‘100% certain’ he’s telling the truth
Sarah Ferguson has said she is convinced that her former husband Prince Andrew is telling the truth about his part in the scandal surrounding convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duchess of York said she was ‘100 percent’ certain that her ex-husband was being honest when he denied seeing anything untoward during the time he spent with the financier.
She told the Financial Times: ‘I want him [Andrew] to come through this. I want him to win.’
When asked why she was sure of his probity, she replied: ‘No question. I know everything about him. I think he is an extraordinary person.’ The Duchess said she and Andrew, who split in 1997, were ‘the happiest divorced couple in the world’, living under the same roof at Royal Lodge, Windsor, but with their own rooms.
‘We support each other like pillars of strengths,’ she added.
RICHARD KAY: Prince Andrew’s silence will only make things worse
How Prince Andrew must wish he could turn back the clock. But to where and when?
Might it be that November night in 2019 when his singular lack of remorse over his friendship with the monstrous Jeffrey Epstein was shredded in the unforgiving glare of the Newsnight cameras?
Or might he, perhaps, go back further to December 2010 and that chilly walk with Epstein in New York’s Central Park after the billionaire’s conviction – and jailing – for sex offences, as an unseen paparazzo clicked away?
Certainly they are both episodes over which he must harbour regret, if not shame. But one incident above all, surely, stands out. It is the evening of March 2001 when a smiling Andrew was photographed with his arm around the bare midriff of 17-year-old Virginia Roberts.
Yesterday, as the enormity of Miss Roberts’s lawsuit in which she accuses the prince of battery, sexually assault and emotional distress when she was a teenager emerged, that infamous picture returned to haunt him again.
Yet even as details of the bombshell allegations were making headline news, the Duke of York’s silence was deafening.
Astonishingly, in view of his previous vehement denials that he’d ever had sex with Miss Roberts, the prince and his legal team had no comment at all.
Last night that strategy of saying nothing was being questioned.
‘The duke has previously expressed his innocence and not to do so again looks like a misstep,’ said one figure who has advised him. ‘Saying nothing allows the other side’s version of events to go unchallenged.’
How Prince Andrew must wish he could turn back the clock. But to where and when? Might it be that November night in 2019 when his singular lack of remorse over his friendship with the monstrous Jeffrey Epstein was shredded in the unforgiving glare of the Newsnight cameras?
There is no doubt that there was a deliberately theatrical element to the way the news was masterminded from New York, but the danger for Andrew, 61, in not offering any response is that he is in danger of losing in the court of public opinion.
This is not the first time Miss Roberts has made these claims, but it’s the first time she has sued Andrew directly.
She has ratcheted up the pressure on a man who has repeatedly insisted her claims are untrue, but who has also repeatedly declined to be interviewed under oath by the FBI.
These are the most serious allegations ever to be made about a member of the Royal Family in modern times. Refusing to cooperate also damages the integrity of the Crown.
One reason for choosing to stay silent may, of course, be because of past experience – that disastrous BBC interview with Emily Maitlis.
Andrew believed he could set the record straight over Epstein. But, as Maitlis probed his answers, the prince made a series of stunning – even risible – comments that left viewers shocked.
He claimed he could not have had sex with Miss Roberts because on the night in question he was with his daughter Beatrice at Pizza Express in Woking.
He also said a medical condition brought on by being shot at during the Falklands War left him ‘unable to sweat’, challenging Miss Roberts’s assertion that as they danced together at London nightclub Tramp he had been ‘sweating profusely’.
There is no doubt that there was a deliberately theatrical element to the way the news was masterminded from New York, but the danger for Andrew, 61, in not offering any response is that he is in danger of losing in the court of public opinion
But most controversially he offered no regret for his friendship with Epstein because of ‘the opportunities I was given to learn either by him or because of him’. Crucially, he showed no sympathy for his victims.
Andrew is hardly the first royal to bury his head in the sand in the face of public uproar.
‘Over the years the first instinct is often to adopt the ostrich syndrome,’ says a courtier. ‘The hope is if they say nothing things will blow over.’
But the Epstein affair has cruelly exposed that tactic. Time after time Andrew has been caught on the back foot as smart American lawyers and slick PRs have crafted a narrative in which the prince is painted in the worst possible light.
Yesterday, the saga was threatening to overshadow the Queen’s summer holiday at Balmoral, where Andrew and ex-wife Sarah Ferguson arrived yesterday in the same car.
While other family members have been angered by how Andrew has tarnished the monarchy, the Queen has remained steadfast in her support for her favourite child.
She admires his resolutely positive outlook. She was the first person he spoke to after recording the Maitlis interview and believed him when he said it had been a great success. It was Prince Charles who coordinated the royals’ response after he saw how catastrophically it had backfired.
The Queen then had to approve his recommendation that Andrew should step back from public duties.
As of May, 47 charities had retreated from their association with the duke or removed him as patron, while his [email protected] mentoring network has erased his name from its website saying it will ‘reassess its future direction’.
And yet no one should underestimate the strength of the relationship that exists between mother and son.
The Queen was always impressed with how Andrew handled his divorce, putting aside public humiliation to ensure the best possible home life for Beatrice and Eugenie. As for his unrelenting support for ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Queen saw it as the embodiment of loyalty.
After Philip’s death, when he spoke warmly of his father on camera, it seemed Andrew might be harbouring some hope of rehabilitating himself with the public.
The latest developments suggest that is a long way from reality. And the longer he chooses to remain silent, the more the suspicion grows that he has something to hide.
‘Prince Andrew committed sexual assault and battery upon Plaintiff when she was 17 years old’: The bombshell Giuffre v Duke of York court documents in full
Virginia Roberts on Monday filed a civil suit against Prince Andrew, formally accusing him of sexually abusing her while she was being trafficked by billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Over 15 pages of court documents filed at New York’s southern district court, the 38-year-old makes claims that the Duke of York ‘committed sexual assault and battery’ against her while she was aged just 17.
The Duke of York has always vehemently denied all charges made by Roberts.
Roberts has requested ‘punitive damages’ be awarded by a judge and demanded a ‘trial by jury’ for the ‘physical, psychological’ injuries she says she suffered.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
VIRGINIA L. GIUFFRE, Plaintiff
PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK, a/k/a ANDREW ALBERT CHRISTIAN EDWARD, in his personal capacity, Defendant.
Plaintiff Virginia L. Giuffre, by her attorneys Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, for her Complaint against Defendant Prince Andrew, Duke of York, a/k/a Andrew Albert Christian Edward (‘Prince Andrew’), avers upon personal knowledge as to her own acts and status and upon information and belief and to all other matters as follows:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
Virginia Giuffre filed the complaint against Prince Andrew at the Southern District Court of New York
1. This suit arises out of Defendant’s sexual abuse of Plaintiff when she was under the age of 18 years old.
2. During 2000–2002, beginning when Plaintiff was 16, Plaintiff was the victim of sex trafficking and abuse by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
3. Epstein’s trafficking scheme involved recruiting young girls, often by claiming they would be paid $200 for simply providing a massage to a wealthy billionaire. This same pattern was repeated numerous times with countless children and young women.
4. As United States District Judge Kenneth Marra found, ‘From between about 1999 and 2007, Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused more than 30 minor girls… at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, and elsewhere in the United States and overseas…
‘In addition to his own sexual abuse of the victims, Epstein directed other persons to abuse the girls sexually. Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him.
‘Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’
Opinion and Order, Doc. No. 435 at 1–2, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 v. United States, Case No. 9:08-cv-80736 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 21, 2019).
5. Like other minor children who came before and after her, Plaintiff was initially recruited to provide massages, and thereafter to engage in a variety of sexual acts, for Epstein.
Plaintiff was required to be on call for Epstein for sexual purposes and frequently traveled with him both nationally and internationally. Plaintiff was regularly abused by Epstein and was lent out by Epstein to other powerful men for sexual purposes.
6. One such powerful man to whom Plaintiff was lent out for sexual purposes was the Defendant, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
7. Prince Andrew was a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who spent years overseeing and managing Epstein’s sex trafficking network, and actively recruited underage girls, including Plaintiff.
8. According to Prince Andrew, he met Epstein through Maxwell in 1999. Prince Andrew thereafter became a frequent guest in Epstein’s various homes around the world, including New York City where he sexually abused Plaintiff at Epstein and Maxwell’s invitation when she was a minor.
9. After publicly feigning ignorance about the scope of Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation and sympathy for Epstein’s victims, Prince Andrew has refused to cooperate with U.S. authorities in their investigation and prosecution of Epstein and his co-conspirators.
10. Prince Andrew committed sexual assault and battery upon Plaintiff when she was 17 years old. As such, Prince Andrew is responsible for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress pursuant to New York common law. The damage to Plaintiff has been severe and lasting.
11. This action has been timely filed pursuant to the Child Victims Act, N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214-g. The actions described herein constitute sexual offenses by Defendant under New York Penal Law Article 130, and were committed against Plaintiff when she was a child less than eighteen years of age, for which she suffered physical, psychological, and other injuries as a result.
12. Plaintiff Virginia L. Giuffre is an individual who is a citizen of the State of Colorado.
13. Defendant Prince Andrew is a citizen of the United Kingdom, and is currently residing at the Royal Lodge at Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, United Kingdom, where he is domiciled.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
14. This Court has diversity jurisdiction over this dispute pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2). Plaintiff is a citizen of a State and Defendant is a citizen of a foreign state, and the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000.00 excluding interests and costs.
15. Venue is proper in this Court as a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to Plaintiff’s claims occurred within this District. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).
16. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant as Defendant sexually abused Plaintiff in this state, and has thus committed a tortious action within this State pursuant to New York’s long-arm statute, N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 302(a)(2).
Defendant also visited Jeffrey Epstein in this State on numerous occasions. Defendant could reasonably anticipate that a suit based upon his acts and omissions with respect to Plaintiff could result in him being subject to suit in this State, and this suit arises directly out of the Defendant’s acts or omissions with respect to Plaintiff in this state.
A. Epstein’s Sex Trafficking Enterprise
17. Jeffrey Epstein was widely renowned as a billionaire who used his vast connections to powerful individuals, and seemingly unlimited wealth and resources, to create a web of transcontinental sex trafficking that served himself, his coconspirators, and some of the most powerful people in the world.
18. Ghislaine Maxwell is a British socialite and the daughter of disgraced publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell. Maxwell was the highest-ranking recruiter in Epstein’s sex-trafficking enterprise. Maxwell is currently facing criminal charges in the Southern District of New York stemming from her role in Epstein’s sex-trafficking enterprise, and is set to face trial in the fall.
19. Epstein had perfected a scheme for manipulation and abuse of young females. As part of the scheme, Maxwell or another female recruiter would approach a young girl and strike up a conversation in an effort to quickly learn about the girl’s background and any vulnerabilities they could expose. Epstein’s recruiters found their targets everywhere and anywhere, including schools, spas, trailer parks, and the street.
20. The recruiter would then manipulate the young female into coming back to one of Epstein’s residences by offering the young girl something she needed, depending on her situation. In many cases, the recruiter sought out girls who wanted to be professional masseuses and invited them to one of Epstein’s homes by offering them what appeared to be legitimate masseuse positions.
21. Once in the residence, Epstein and his co-conspirators would work in concert to impress and intimidate the young female with displays of vast wealth and power. They would brag about their connections to very powerful political and social figures, and display photographs of themselves with those figures around Epstein’s homes. They would normalize the sexual abuse by displaying photographs and art displaying nude females, and a massage table and spa related products in an effort to legitimize the area where the abuse was set to occur.
22. Once abused, Epstein and Maxwell continued to manipulate their victims, using their financial power, promises, and threats to ensure that the victim returned as directed and remained compliant with their demands. Epstein and his lawyers would even gather information about the victims to use against them if they ever disobeyed him, and his homes were under constant surveillance.
23. Message pads recovered during trash pulls at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion reflect messages that his staff took to relay to Epstein. They show the constant flow of girls to Epstein, sometimes three per day. Epstein’s employees have also described young girls constantly being present at Epstein’s different homes.
Epstein’s constant access to young girls is also evidenced in his ‘Black Book,’ a book of phone numbers and contact information listing girls to call for ‘massages’ in various cities, flight logs documenting his frequent travel with young girls and powerful individuals on his private plane, and troves of lewd photographs of young girls recovered from his homes. In his Black Book, Epstein had at least 12 different contact numbers listed for Prince Andrew.
24. Plaintiff became a victim of sex trafficking and repeated sexual abuse after Maxwell recruited her into Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation when Plaintiff was working at the Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
25. Between 2000 and 2002, Epstein sexually abused Plaintiff at numerous locations including his mansion in this District, at 9 East 71st Street, New York, New York 10021.
26. Epstein also flew Plaintiff on his plane nationally and internationally numerous times when she was under the age of 18.
Only portions of the flight logs of Epstein’s private planes have yet been recovered, and Epstein also flew Plaintiff frequently on commercial airlines to meet him and others.
However, the chart below, which shows Plaintiff’s flights on Epstein’s private plane from the limited logs that are available, illustrates the international scope of Epstein’s sex trafficking.
27. In addition to being abused by Epstein himself, Plaintiff was also forced to have sex with Defendant, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, at Epstein and Maxwell’s direction.
28. As part of their sex trafficking efforts, Epstein and Maxwell intimidated Plaintiff into remaining silent about what had happened to her.
29. After years of abuse, Epstein sent Plaintiff to Thailand in September 2002. One of Plaintiff’s assignments from Epstein was to bring a young girl back to Epstein in the United States. Fearing for her life, and not wanting to subject another young girl to the abuse she was forced to endure, Plaintiff fled from Thailand to Australia to escape from Epstein.
‘The chart below, which shows Plaintiff’s flights on Epstein’s private plane from the limited logs that are available, illustrates the international scope of Epstein’s sex trafficking,’ reads the document
B. Defendant’s Relationship with Epstein and Maxwell
30. According to Prince Andrew, he first met Epstein in 1999 through Maxwell, Prince Andrew’s close friend. Prince Andrew and Maxwell have been photographed at numerous social events together.
31. According to available flight logs, Prince Andrew began flying with Epstein on his private plane as early as 1999, when he flew with Epstein and Maxwell to Epstein’s private island, Little St. James. Prince Andrew’s name also appears in other available flight log entries from around the same time, showing travel with Epstein and Maxwell to and from other locations, including West Palm Beach, Florida, and Teterboro, New Jersey.
32. In 2000, Epstein and Maxwell attended Prince Andrew’s 40th birthday party. That same year, Prince Andrew threw Maxwell a birthday party in Sandringham, United Kingdom, and Epstein was among the guests.
33. In 2006, Prince Andrew invited Epstein to his daughter’s 18th birthday party, despite Epstein being charged with procuring a minor for prostitution only one month prior.
34. Prince Andrew has himself confirmed that he has been on Epstein’s private plane, stayed at Epstein’s private island, and stayed at Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach, Florida, and New York, New York. See Prince Andrew’s links to Jeffrey Epstein, BBC News (Nov. 16, 2019), available at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49411215.
35. Members of Epstein’s house staff have confirmed witnessing Prince Andrew visit Epstein’s numerous homes, both to the media and in sworn testimony.
C. Defendant’s Sexual Abuse of Plaintiff
‘The photograph depicts Prince Andrew, Plaintiff, and Maxwell at Maxwell’s home prior to Prince Andrew sexually abusing Plaintiff,’ the document claims
36. Prince Andrew abused Plaintiff on separate occasions when she was under the age of 18 years old.
37. On one occasion, Prince Andrew sexually abused Plaintiff in London at Maxwell’s home. During this encounter, Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will.
38. The below photograph depicts Prince Andrew, Plaintiff, and Maxwell at Maxwell’s home prior to Prince Andrew sexually abusing Plaintiff.
39. On another occasion, Prince Andrew sexually abused Plaintiff in Epstein’s New York mansion in this District. During this encounter, Maxwell forced Plaintiff, a child, and another victim to sit on Prince Andrew’s lap as Prince Andrew touched her. During his visit to New York, Prince Andrew forced Plaintiff to engage in sex acts against her will.
40. On another occasion, Prince Andrew sexually abused Plaintiff on Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Little St. James.
41. During each of the aforementioned incidents, Plaintiff was compelled by express or implied threats by Epstein, Maxwell, and/or Prince Andrew to engage in sexual acts with Prince Andrew, and feared death or physical injury to herself or another and other repercussions for disobeying Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew due to their powerful connections, wealth, and authority.
42. During each of the aforementioned incidents, Prince Andrew acted with intent to compel Plaintiff’s submission.
43. Prince Andrew engaged in each of the aforementioned sexual acts with Plaintiff at Epstein and Maxwell’s invitation, knowing that she was a sex-trafficking victim being forced to engage in sexual acts with him.
44. During each of the aforementioned incidents, Plaintiff did not consent to engaging in sexual acts with Prince Andrew.
45. During each of the aforementioned incidents, Prince Andrew knew Plaintiff’s age based on communications from Epstein and Maxwell.
46. During each of the aforementioned incidents, Prince Andrew sexually abused Plaintiff for the purpose of gratifying his sexual desires.
47. During each of the aforementioned incidents, Prince Andrew was acting in his individual, personal capacity, and was not performing any duty relating to his former role as a trade envoy, any duty relating to his role as a member of the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, or any other official or diplomatic duty or function.
48. Defendant’s sexual assault and battery of Plaintiff have caused her, and continue to cause her, significant emotional and psychological distress and harm.
D. The Arrest, Prosecution, and Death of Epstein, and Prince Andrew’s Refusal to Cooperate with the Authorities
49. In 2008, Epstein pled guilty in Florida to the charge of procuring a minor for prostitution.
50. In 2010, after Epstein had served his sentence and registered as a sex offender, Prince Andrew was photographed with Epstein in Central Park and stayed at Epstein’s New York City mansion.
51. Epstein flippantly referred to his sexual abuse of multiple minors, and the slap on the wrist he had received for it, in a 2011 interview with the New York Post: ‘Billionaire pervert Jeffrey Epstein is back in New York City—and making wisecracks about his just-ended jail stint for having sex with an underage girl. ‘I am not a sexual predator, I’m an ‘offender,’ the financier told The Post yesterday. ‘It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel,’ said Epstein.’ See Amber Sutherland, Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein: I’m a Sex Offender, Not A Predator, New York Post (Feb. 25, 2011), available at https://bit.ly/2s3ebwk.
52. Around the same time, Prince Andrew began to face criticism over his well- publicized friendship with Epstein.
53. In early 2015, after Plaintiff had publicly accused Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her, Prince Andrew emailed Maxwell stating, ‘Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.’
54. On July 2, 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (‘SDNY’) charged Epstein with sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591.
55. Epstein was arrested on July 8, 2019, pursuant to a Sealed Two Count Indictment.
56. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10, 2019.
57. Just one year before his death, Epstein told a New York Times reporter ‘that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable.’ James B. Stewart, The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People, N.Y. Times (Aug. 12, 2019), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/12/business/jeffrey-epstein-interview.html.
58. After Epstein’s second arrest and death, numerous of his co-conspirators and the wealthy individuals to whom he trafficked girls—including Prince Andrew—began to face increased public scrutiny for having close ties to a convicted sex offender.
59. In November 2019, in response to this renewed scrutiny, Prince Andrew sat for an interview with BBC Newsnight. Prince Andrew stated that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein and that he had no recollection of meeting Plaintiff, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
60. Prince Andrew publicly pledged, including in a statement stepping down from his public duties and in his Newsnight interview, to assist the U.S. authorities with their criminal investigation of Epstein and his co-conspirators.
A statement by His Royal Highness The Duke of York (Nov. 20 2019), available at https://www.royal.uk/statement-his-royal-highness-duke-york (‘Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.’).
61. Despite this public pledge, Prince Andrew has refused to cooperate with U.S. authorities. Former SDNY U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman stated that Prince Andrew had provided ‘zero co-operation’ despite U.S. prosecutors and the FBI contacting Prince Andrew’s counsel. Prince Andrew gives ‘zero co-operation’ over Epstein inquiry, US prosecutor says, BBC News (Jan. 27, 2020), available at https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51271871.
62. Prince Andrew and his counsel have also refused to cooperate with counsel for the victims of Epstein’s sex trafficking. Counsel for the victims of Epstein’s sex trafficking, including counsel for Plaintiff, have repeatedly asked for a meeting or telephone call with Prince Andrew and/or his representatives to enable Prince Andrew to provide whatever facts, context, or explanation he might have, and to explore alternative dispute resolution approaches. Prince Andrew and his representatives have rejected all such requests, and responded by escalating their vile and baseless attacks on Plaintiff and others.
63. On July 19, 2021, counsel for Plaintiff proposed a tolling agreement that would have enabled Plaintiff not to sue Prince Andrew at this time, while avoiding any argument that her failure to do so caused her claims to be time-barred. Again Prince Andrew stonewalled—ignoring Plaintiff’s letter and emails without any reply or response, thereby making this action necessary now. A copy of the July 19, 2021, letter proposing a tolling agreement is attached as Exhibit A to this Complaint.
64. In this country no person, whether President or Prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection. 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.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION (Battery)
65. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges the allegations stated above as if fully set forth herein.
66. Prince Andrew intentionally committed battery by sexually assaulting Plaintiff when she was a minor. As described above, on multiple occasions Prince Andrew intentionally touched Plaintiff in an offensive and sexual manner without her consent.
67. Prince Andrew’s actions constitute sexual offenses as defined in New York Penal Law Article 130, including but not limited to sexual misconduct as defined in Article 130.20, rape in the third degree as defined in Article 130.25, rape in the first degree as defined in Article 130.35, forcible touching as defined in Article 130.52, sexual abuse in the third degree as defined in Article 130.55, and sexual abuse in the first degree as defined in Article 130.65. See N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214-g.
68. As a direct and proximate result of Prince Andrew’s criminal acts, Plaintiff has in the past and will in the future continue to suffer substantial damages, including extreme emotional distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION (Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress)
69. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges the allegations stated above as if fully set forth herein.
70. As a direct result of these allegations as stated, Prince Andrew committed intentional infliction of emotional distress against Plaintiff.
71. Prince Andrew’s actions, described above, constitute extreme and outrageous conduct that shocks the conscience. Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse of a child who he knew was a sex-trafficking victim, and when he was approximately 40 years old, goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilized community.
72. Prince Andrew knew or disregarded the substantial likelihood that these actions would cause Plaintiff severe emotional distress.
73. As a direct and proximate result of Prince Andrew’s criminal acts, Plaintiff has in the past and will in the future continue to suffer substantial damages, including extreme emotional distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests judgment against Defendant, awarding compensatory, consequential, exemplary, and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial; costs of suit; attorneys’ fees; and such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
Plaintiff hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted within this pleading.
Dated: August 9, 2021