A defiant Prince Andrew may have been stripped of his HRH by the queen, but he intends to continue fighting Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s allegations that he raped her three times when she was 17 years old, as part of a high stakes gamble to clear his name, a source close to the prince has exclusively told The Daily Beast.
“We are at the very beginning of this case,” the source said, “Obviously, we would have liked to get the case thrown out at the pleading stage. But we’ll continue litigating pursuant to the court’s order.”
Asked about Andrew’s likely course of action in the coming months, the source said, “The fight goes on.”
Another source close to the Duke said, “Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. However, it was not a judgment on the merits of Ms. Giuffre’s allegations. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.”
However, a source close to Andrew told The Daily Beast it was “highly unlikely” the duke would attend any court hearing in person.
The insight into Andrew’s likely legal strategy is the clearest sign yet that the duke, often accused of arrogance, intends to defy calls for him to make a settlement with Giuffre, and will instead continue to pursue an aggressive strategy masterminded by his lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, that will seek to disparage Giuffre’s character.
A source in Virginia Giuffre’s camp told The Daily Beast, “They have consistently said their plan is to deny everything, so there is no reason to believe that they won’t take this to trial. On the other hand, if they were planning to try and resolve it, they would certainly feign that they were taking it to trial, so it's hard to know what they have in mind. You just can’t tell.
“It’s hard to believe that they really are going to take this to trial, as there is so much evidence against him, but you would not have predicted they would do what they are doing.”
Sources in Andrew’s camp have previously told The Daily Beast that his accuser’s “credibility” is at the heart of the case.
For example, in legal briefs submitted to the court, Brettler has accused Giuffre of being involved in recruiting other girls to work as masseurs, knowing they would be abused by Epstein and Maxwell.
The strategy has been widely condemned by many observers, who see Andrew seeking to blame a victim of Jeffrey Epstein.
Giuffre’s side have previously told The Daily Beast that these attacks on Giuffre have “absolutely nothing to do with whether Prince Andrew participated in sex trafficking.”
Andrew continues to insist, both privately and publicly, that he has no recollection of ever meeting Giuffre, and strenuously denies her allegations that she was trafficked to him for sexual purposes by Epstein and Maxwell.
Andrew’s defiant stance came after he was humiliatingly stripped of his titles, military associations, and royal patronages Thursday, in a comprehensive ex-communication from royal life by the queen.
Andrew was photographed earlier in the day for the first time since a judge handed down a decision Wednesday, rejecting Andrew’s claim that he was protected from legal action by Giuffre by the terms of a $500,000 settlement signed in 2009 between Giuffre and Epstein. Giuffre accused Epstein of trafficking her.
The grim-faced prince was pictured being driven in a Range Rover from his home, Royal Lodge, in Windsor Great Park, in the direction of Windsor Castle where the queen now lives.
It is likely he was visiting Her Majesty to discuss his final humiliation, but Buckingham Palace declined to say whether Andrew had visited the queen today, or if they had a face to face conversation about the move, which will see him banned from styling himself as “His Royal Highness.”
The revelation of Andrew’s confrontational stance in the ongoing civil trial came after Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, told The Daily Beast that his client was looking forward to having her allegations against her alleged abuser heard in court.
Boies later told the BBC that Giuffre would be unlikely to accept a “purely financial” settlement, suggesting that even if Andrew or his family were willing and able to pay her off, she would not be content with the usual formulation whereby no admission of guilt is written into the contract.
Boies said: “I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims…a purely financial settlement is not anything that I think she’s interested in.”
The revelation that Andrew intends to continue fighting the case comes after he was stripped of his remaining royal honors. One hundred-fifty military veterans earlier wrote to the queen, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, saying it was “untenable” for Andrew to retain his position.
“Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post,” the letter, first reported by the Guardian, said.
Andrew’s camp tried to spin yesterday’s decision as an agreed move rather than one imposed from the top, but Andrew’s unwillingness to voluntarily give up the honors and military roles before now has underscored, for many, his refusal to countenance that he will never again return to a prominent position in public life.
While his mother is alive, he will likely retain her personal affection and continue to be invited to private family gatherings. However, an incoming King Charles could act with much greater ruthlessness towards his younger brother, whom he reportedly dislikes.
Charles and his son William are also thought to be hugely opposed to any deal whereby the monarch’s private income is used to bail Andrew out, either by covering legal fees or a settlement.
Andrew is thought to have promised to pay his own legal bills and is expected to use the proceeds of the sale of his $22 million Swiss ski lodge for this purpose.
A source told The Daily Beast that a buyer for the property has been found, saying, “The sale is proceeding, but not yet completed.”
While there is a school of thought in the family that Andrew should “sort out his own mess,” the royals will also be acutely aware that if Andrew sticks to his plan to fight on, and the case is dragged through the courts for much of this year, revelations and lurid claims about Andrew’s sex life could overshadow the platinum jubilee celebrations.
Thursday’s move to completely expel him from the formal and ceremonial life of the family could be read as a strategic acknowledgment of that reality.
Given that this is a civil trial, Andrew would not be required to appear in person as a witness, but videotaped excerpts of his deposition would likely be played for jurors.