Prince Andrew’s will ‘court controversy’ at Jubilee says Whitelock
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Buckingham Palace officials face an “awkward” situation as they try to negotiate Prince Andrew’s role in the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee, a commentator has claimed. According to one royal commentator, the Duke of York will want to be “front and centre” to celebrate his mother’s seven decades on the throne but is at risk of damaging the reputation of the monarchy. Prince Andrew is currently facing allegations of sexual abuse, claims he has consistently denied.
Royal historian Dr Anna Whitelock told Express.co.uk: “He’ll court controversy by his very presence in the heart of the Royal Family, so I think that is an awkward thing for Palace officials to negotiate.
“I very much would suspect that Prince Andrew will want to be front and centre, he took the opportunity of course of speaking on the eve of his father’s funeral, after his father’s death.
“He will see the celebrations as an opportunity for him to be pictured back in the hub of the Royal Family.
“I think it’s going to be a difficult one to balance the image of the Queen surrounded by her family but of course, so much controversy surrounds Prince Andrew.”
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is due to take place between June 2 to 5 next year, with a number of festivities planned over the four-day Bank Holiday.
Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, filed a civil case against him on August 10 under New York’s Child Victims Act.
Ms Giuffre, a former alleged victim of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has claimed that Prince Andrew sexually abused her on three occasions when she was 17 years old.
The abuse allegedly took place at the London home of Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and twice at Epstein’s homes in Manhattan and the US Virgin Islands. The Queen’s second son became friends with Epstein in the 1990s, but claims to have terminated their friendship in 2010.
His accuser claims that the Duke of York acted in full awareness of her age and that she was a “victim of sex trafficking”.
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Now 38, Ms Giuffre is claiming damages for the “significant emotional and psychological distress and harm” caused by the prince’s behaviour.
In documents filed at court, her lawyers said: “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.”
Prince Andrew has consistently denied all claims made against him.
During a 2019 interview with BBC Newsnight, he told journalist Emily Maitlis: “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Despite denying any knowledge of meeting Virginia Giuffre, the interview was dubbed a disaster and Prince Andrew withdrew from public life shortly afterwards.
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The Duke of York has recently returned from Balmoral, where he had been staying with the Queen for several weeks whilst his legal team denied that they had been served with official documents.
Under the Hague Convention, Ms Giuffre’s legal team had to serve Prince Andrew with legal documents to inform him of the lawsuit filed against him. For several weeks, Prince Andrew’s legal team denied that the papers had been received officially, despite Ms Giuffre’s best attempts to do so.
They have now recognised the documents and have until October 29 to formally respond.
In other developments, the Metropolitan Police announced that they would not be taking any further action against the Duke, following a review into the allegations.
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