When Prince Andrew traveled on Wednesday, aboard a Range Rover vehicle, the short distance that separates his usual residence in the rooms of Windsor Castle from the rooms where Elizabeth II lives, he was accompanied in the back seat by the lawyer Gary Bloxsome. The Duke of York was going to hold a ninety-minute meeting with his mother to address the sexual abuse lawsuit filed against him in a US court by Virginia Giuffre, and, above all, the consequences that the case could have for the reputation of the British royal family. The queen’s environment forced the lawyer to wait alone, inside the vehicle. He did not enter the meeting in which the monarch announced to her son that she was stripping him of military titles and royal patronage. And in which he made it clear that, in his particular judicial journey through the desert, he was going to be alone. He would defend himself “as a private citizen,” said the harsh statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
Sources from Prince Andrew’s legal team have assured different British media, always anonymously, that the Duke maintains his will to fight in court. Until now, he has flatly denied the accusations of Giuffre, who assures that he suffered the prince’s sexual abuse on three occasions. She was 17 years old then – today she is 38 – and was one of the many minors who were part of the network of “sex slaves” of the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and his girlfriend and accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell. The first ended up committing suicide in a police cell in New York. The second was found guilty of five crimes of sexual trafficking of minors by an American popular jury.
Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, with a reputation for skillful and punctilious interrogations, has already hinted that he wants to call Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, to testify – possibly by videoconference, from London, as will the prince. , and his two daughters, Beatriz and Eugenia. In his disastrous 2019 interview with the BBC, the Duke of York denied that on March 10, 2001 he went dancing with Giuffre at the London club Tramp, and ended up having a sexual encounter in the apartment of the prince’s old friend, Ghislaine Maxwell. . He put as an alibi that that afternoon he had taken his daughter Beatriz to a birthday party at the Pizza Express restaurant, in the Woking neighborhood. The plaintiff’s lawyer now wants Andrés’s ex-wife and daughters to confirm that issue and clarify schedules.
Although from the queen’s entourage it is suggested, always through unnamed statements in the tabloids, that Andrés should reach an out-of-court settlement with his plaintiff, whatever it costs him, and thus eliminate this scandal from the year in which his mother celebrates the Platinum Jubilee —70 years of reign—, the Duke of York insists on proclaiming his innocence and wants to litigate. The trial will begin in the fall, and is expected to be long and complicated. Andrés has sold his chalet in the Swiss Alps, valued at around 20 million euros, to face the enormous cost of waging such a legal battle in US courts.
Prince Andrew received the title of Duke of York on the day he married Sarah Ferguson, on July 23, 1986. His grandfather, King George VI, and his great-great-grandfather, King George V, had previously held the title more prestigious of the British aristocracy. Now, several politicians from the Yorkshire county town have already launched an initiative to disassociate the name of their municipality from the disgraced son of the queen. “While Prince Andrew remains innocent until proven guilty, Buckingham Palace and the Government should take into account the serious consequences of the charges he faces,” said Liberal Democrat York Councilor Darryl Smalley. “Having been stripped of his military titles and royal patronages, he should relinquish his title of Duke of York,” he demanded. His initiative has been joined by the Labor MP from the York Central constituency, Rachael Maskell, and councilors from the same party. Everyone is working on the possible elaboration of a motion, which should be voted on in the municipal plenary session. Conservative councillors, for the time being, have shown their rejection of the proposal.
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