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Prince Andrew puts faith in ‘The Rottweiler’
Obviously aware that the public impression is of a man hiding behind his mother, while desperately trying to avoid anyone looking like they’re proffering court papers, Prince Andrew’s team have decided…to echo Andrew himself, and bullishly claim all is going well when it comes to Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s lawsuit accusing him of being a rapist—claims Andrew emphatically denies.
Lawyers for Giuffre claim Andrew has been served the papers; sources for Andrew say he has not been. This part of the case is about legal protocol; the tabloid images of Andrew in recent weeks, driving to Balmoral in furious dashes, tells its own story.
“The prince’s UK team has slowly but surely been putting together a team of highly-skilled, big-name lawyers to fight on his behalf in the US,” a source tells The Mail on Sunday about those amassing to defend him from Giuffre’s claims of rape and sexual assault.
“People will be surprised by the names of those who will be defending him. It’s a dream team of some of the sharpest minds in the business. There is a great deal of confidence among everyone, Andrew included, that the civil suit will be thrown out before it ever comes to court.”
The Mail reports that one of this team is Blair Berk, whose previous clients include Harvey Weinstein, Britney Spears, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mel Gibson. “Blair is one of the best in the business. She’s nicknamed The Rottweiler,’” the Mail quotes one lawyer who knows her. “She takes no prisoners. If anyone can clear Andrew’s name and sort out this mess, she can.”
Meanwhile, the Sun on Sunday reports that Andrew held a shooting party at Balmoral yesterday, Saturday, two days before the New York court hearing into Giuffre’s claims.
One royal source told the Sun on Sunday: “This is so brazen it is unbelievable. Prince Andrew is carrying on like nothing has happened and as if he hasn’t got a care in the world.
“It has been bad enough that he appears to have been seeking refuge at Balmoral, where the Queen is trying to have quiet time after a tough year, but to host a shooting party, with some dubious guests shows disrespect to the monarchy. And it is also tone deaf as if he does not care about what is going on with the legal case.”
Another royal source tells the paper: “It looks like he is running to mummy and that she is almost harboring him. No one wants Andrew near Balmoral. It looks like he is hiding behind a woman who is approaching 100 years old.
“He needs to pull his socks up and face his responsibilities. Going for flight instead of fight is making him look irresponsible and guilty, even if he isn’t.”
Prince Charles and the rich Russian banker
Prince Charles’ quest for cash funding for his charities is causing him major problems. There was the revelation that a key aide directly linked the giving of an honor to a $2m gift from a rich Saudi donor. His nephew Ben Elliot also reportedly traded access to him in return for charitable donations—a claim Elliot denies.
Now comes a £500,000 ($690,000) donation from Dmitry Leus, 51, a Russian banker seeking British citizenship. Leus intended the money to go to Dumfries House, the Scottish stately home that Charles has restored for the nation. However the money was ultimately returned to Leus after objections from Charles’ foundation’s ethics committee over the banker’s background. Leus was found guilty in Russia in 2014 of money-laundering before having his conviction overturned.
The Sunday Times today published, among a treasure trove of other documents, an uncomfortably sycophantic letter from Charles to Leus which reads in part: “Word has reached me that you have very generously decided to support the work of my Foundation. I cannot tell you how incredibly grateful I am for your encouragement for everything I am trying to achieve.”
Leus’ donation, Charles wrote, would allow him to “plan for the future,” adding, “This is something that gives me great comfort.”
Leus was under the impression his donation was explicitly linked to meeting Charles. As one meeting after another fell through, however, he grew angry and told society fixer William Bortrick: “If it is not possible for you to arrange this meeting [with Prince Charles], I would prefer to get my family money back, and resume the conversation when the situation will improve.”
It’s a complicated and detailed investigation. One source who knows Charles summed matters up, telling the Times: “The prince’s intentions are good, but this is all money for vanity projects, it’s not money to fund the Prince’s Trust, which is actually changing people’s lives. How has nobody said to him: ‘You are just years away from being king, what the f*** are you doing?’”
The Times reported that a spokesman for the Prince’s Foundation said: “The Trustees have already arranged a robust and wide-ranging investigation with an independent senior forensic accountant from a ‘big four’ accountancy firm, and these matters will be reviewed as part of that work. It would be inappropriate and unhelpful to comment further until the investigation has been concluded.”
Harry and Meghan pay tribute to 9/11 victims
The Archewell website this weekend has devoted itself to one of the most sombre lists of modern times: the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11.
The queen also released a statement saying, in a message addressed to Joe Biden: “As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on September 11 2001, my thoughts and prayers, and those of my family and the entire nation, remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.”
She added: “My visit to the site of the World Trade Centre in 2010 is held fast in my memory. It reminds me that as we honor those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.”
Charles and Camilla said: “On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we remember all those who lost their lives and pay tribute to the tireless work of the emergency services, some of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice to save others.”
Monaco royals set record straight
Rumors about the state of the union between Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene have circulated since before they were married, when it was widely reported that Charlene made three abortive attempts to flee Monaco, but was eventually persuaded to go through with the marriage. On the big day she looked tearful and her balcony kiss with Albert remains one of the most uncomfortable public wedding kisses in history.
Gossips have not been quieted by the apparently unhappy couple’s separation for much the year. Charlene has spent much of 2021 in her native South Africa. The palace have said this is on medical grounds, but cynics have continued to question the arrangement.
This week, 63-year-old Albert attempted to set the record straight, telling People: “She didn’t leave Monaco in a huff! She didn’t leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else.”
When asked when she will return to Monaco, Albert said: “I know she’s said possibly late October…But that was before this most recent round of appointments. I’m pretty sure we can cut that time frame a little short.”
In July, Charlene and Albert spent their tenth wedding anniversary apart. They were reunited in August, with another awkward kiss being posted on Instagram.
Author Hilary Mantel has made a lifetime’s work out of studying the royals with her Wolf Hall trilogy. Now she tells the Sunday Times she suspects the royals’ number will soon be up. “I think they do it as well as anyone possibly could, take it as seriously as anyone could,” she says, but asked how long she thinks “the royals have left” she says her “back of the envelope” calculation is that Prince George will never be king. Mantel says: “I think it’s a fair prediction, but let’s say I wouldn’t put money on it. It’s very hard to understand the thinking behind the monarchy in the modern world when people are just seen as celebrities.”
British teenager Emma Raducanu won a stunning victory in the tennis Saturday night. William and Kate were quick to offer their congratulations to her—and, rather sportingly, her vanquished opponent.
This week in royal history
Prince Harry turns 37 on September 15. Hopefully it will be a happy birthday. He and Meghan find themselves, likely not for long, out of the royal firing line—with dad Prince Charles and uncle Prince Andrew both seemingly hell-bent on competing for the most damning newspaper headlines-of-the-week award.
Did Prince Andrew get served with papers or not? Will Prince Charles say anything about the ever-mushrooming cash for honors scandal?