Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is being sued by Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), a woman who was victimized by Jeffery Epstein as a teenager and claims that the prince assaulted her when she was 17. It’s the latest crisis to hit the royal family this year, after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fled the monarchy in an event now dubbed as Megxit.
The Duke of York’s relationship with Jeffery Epstein, a convicted pedophile and alleged sex trafficker with high level connections and friends in government, entertainment and philanthrope. While Bill Gates and formers President Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have been called out for their friendship and or acquaintance with Epstein, it’s Prince Andrew’s relationship that’s received the most scrutiny.
According to Virginia, Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her under the direction of Epstein and his partner/madam Ghislaine Maxwell when she was under the age of legal consent, 17.
Criminal charges have yet to be filed against the Duke and he consistently denies that he had a sexual relationship with Virginia, even going as far as to submit to a disastrous BBC interview, which cast him under even more suspicion. He also hasn’t submitted to any official questioning by the FBI.
As a result of the BBC interview and the growing questions over his knowledge of Epstein’s illegal operations, Prince Andrew has officially stepped back as a working royal.
Now, Virginia is suing Prince Andrew civilly, as criminal charges are, at this point, highly unlikely.
David Boies, Virginia’s lawyer, said that she has “tried every way she can to resolve this short of litigation.”
He added, “At this point litigation is the only way to establish once and for all what the truth is – and litigation is the only way to establish once and for all what Prince Andrew’s evidence actually is.”
The impact of this case could potentially be catastrophic, as the impact of the filing in the United States could have a long reach and hinder the prince’s ability to travel outside the U.K. or, at the most extreme, keep his royal title.
Virginia hopes that this filing and case will tell powerful men and women that it is “not acceptable and that you cannot hide behind wealth and power and palace walls.”
There’s been no official royal response to the filing—however, recently Prince Andrew was seen arriving in Balmoral Castle in Scotland with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. A sign that he may be in crisis talks with his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
This case is incredibly disturbing, but it’s also challenging at the same time.
There is likely no physical evidence that Andrew knew that Virginia was underage, or that he knew she was being coerced into a sexual encounter. Does this excuse his behavior, of course not, but some of Andrew’s hesitancy could be simply due to the fact that it’s so easy to destroy a man’s reputation with so little information.
But this puts the monarchy in a bad light, and, unfortunately, the last year has made it clear that the Queen lacks the ability to fully rebuke her children and or grandchildren. It’s unclear how she’ll handle the situation with Andrew.
Will she force him to finally work with the FBI or will he be allowed to continue ignoring the growing questions about his involvement and knowledge of Epstein’s operations.
But it’s clear that the title “Duke of York” will likely be retired for decades after Prince Andrew dies.