Prince Andrew’s ‘serious concerns over strategy in sex assault case’

·2-min read
The duke has so far, on advice, refused to engage with the US court  (REUTERS)
The duke has so far, on advice, refused to engage with the US court (REUTERS)

The Duke of York has expressed “serious concerns” to his team of lawyers over their handling of a sexual assault civil case brought against him, senior sources said on Monday.

Prince Andrew is said to be concerned that a lack of “communication and engagement” over the Virginia Giuffre case in the US is damaging his reputation and the monarchy.

Reports that the duke, who strongly denies the allegations, is about to axe his legal team were played down today.

One senior figure said: “It’s unlikely he’s about to change his entire legal team at this late stage but there are definitely concerns over strategy. There have been a number of exchanges. Everyone is aware of the other’s viewpoint.”

Since Ms Giuffre brought the action, the strategy by Andrew’s lawyers seems to have been to put up a wall of silence. The duke has so far, on advice, refused to engage with the US court amid wrangling over whether legal papers had been properly served on him.

Now senior figures at the Palace have made clear to Andrew that they believe he is being failed by this strategy.

The High Court last week gave his legal team seven days to challenge its decision to begin notifying him about the civil case in New York. Palace courtiers are concerned that his advisers in the UK and US have been “outplayed”.

Lawyers for Ms Giuffre — a victim of the dead paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein who Andrew admits was his former friend — said they delivered papers informing the royal of the case to his Royal Lodge home in Windsor Great Park. Lawyers for the prince, who has been in Balmoral, dispute that they have been properly served.

The judge told his US attorney, Andrew B. Brettler, last week: “Let’s cut out all the technicalities and get to the substance.” A further court hearing is due on October 13.

A source close to the duke said: “The decision not to put out any kind of statement, even just to reiterate his denial of the allegations, has seen his reputation shredded in the court of public opinion.”

It has been reported that Andrew could be leaving Balmoral to see his pregnant daughter Beatrice after she was apparently admitted to a London hospital on Friday. She is expecting her first baby with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

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