The second son of Queen Elizabeth II, said to be her favorite, has kept a low profile since the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal broke out in August 2019. The Duke of York in effect became a pariah after he stepped down from royal duties and wasn’t present at any festive events, which are normally attended by members of the Royal Family.
Prince Andrew is “utterly convinced” that he will be able to brush off the rape allegations against him and return to public life next year, the Daily Mirror reported citing insiders. According to them, the 61-year-old has told his closest confidants that the scandal over the recent civil lawsuit against him will “blow over”.
The sources told the newspaper that the royal has an “incredibly bullish attitude” about the issue and believes he will be able to save his reputation.
“[Prince Andrew] has a clear and burning desire to return to work as soon as possible. That may look entirely impossible but if anything he’s become emboldened in recent weeks and remains utterly convinced he will not only be exonerated but will certainly forge a way back to public life”, one insider told the Daily Mirror.
Another source told the outlet that the royal’s “buoyant” mood and self-assurance is detrimental both for him and the Royal Family.
“Andrew claims he hasn’t read the news and hasn’t kept up with what is happening around him, which anyone can see is not only catastrophic for his reputation but very damaging for the wider royal family”, the insider said
In August it was reported that the Duke of York is hiding in Royal Lodge as he and his team try to prevent lawyers from serving him with a lawsuit. According to the Sun, the royal’s security guards have stopped lawyers “multiple times”.
What Are the Allegations?
For years Virginia Giuffre has accused Prince Andrew of having sexually assaulted her. She claimed she was trafficked to London by US financier Jeffrey Epstein and his alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and she was forced to have sex with the royal on three occasions, including when she was just 17-years old. The media didn’t pay attention to the allegations until Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on charges of running a sex-trafficking ring of minors in July of 2019.
How Has the Duke Responded to The Accusations?
Prince Andrew was among numerous celebrities and high-profile figures to have rubbed shoulders with Epstein. In the wake of the scandal the royal gave an interview to the BBC where he tried to explain his ties with the disgraced financier as well as answer the allegations against him.
He categorically denied the accusations, claiming he had an alibi. The royal said he had no recollection of meeting Giuffre, despite there being at least one photo showing the prince together with Giuffre and Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
Prince Andrew admitted that he flew on Epstein’s private plane, visited his numerous mansions as well as his island in the Caribbean, where the financier allegedly abused and raped his victims, but noted that he didn’t notice any inappropriate behaviour.
The Duke of York said he is willing to help US prosecutors working on the Epstein case. However, investigators claim that he has provided zero cooperation since the scandal broke. On 9 August, Virginia Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit in New York. She is seeking “accountability” from the royal and is demanding compensation for physical and mental damage. Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies accused Prince Andrew of “stonewalling” the case.
“[Andrew and his legal team] stonewalled us just like they’ve stonewalled the criminal prosecutors in the United States. As a result, we’ve not been able to have a dialogue with him. They have been totally uncooperative, not only with us, but with all of the lawyers representing victims of Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking”, Boies said.