The Queen was today seen being taken for a drive around her Sandringham estate after it was claimed Prince Charles, Prince William and other senior royals are ‘deeply shocked’ by Prince Andrew’s demand for a trial by jury.
Members of the Royal Family will urge the Duke of York to settle with Virginia Giuffre, which could cost him £10million, but he wants to tackle accusations of rape and sexual assault made by the Jeffrey Epstein ‘sex slave’.
Senior royals are said to be exerting pressure on him to pay off Ms Giuffre to avoid corroding his mother’s Platinum Jubilee, fearing a trial could be ‘many times worse’ than his car crash BBC Newsnight interview.
So far Andrew appears to be ignoring them, after the Queen ‘swiftly and ruthlessly’ forced him to hand back his remaining royal patronages and demanded he fight the case as a ‘private citizen’. But experts have suggested his hard line could be a ‘bluff’ and a desperate bid to ‘buy time’ to reach an out-of-court settlement with his accuser.
Meanwhile the Queen, 95, was photographed this morning near Wood Farm on her Sandringham estate where she is staying for the next few weeks, just over one month after her Christmas visit to Norfolk was cancelled.
She normally hosts her family at Sandringham over the holidays, and on Christmas Day the royals attend church nearby. But the Queen chose in December to remain at Windsor Castle following rising Covid-19 cases at the time.
On February 6, her reign will pass the milestone of 70 years and herald the start of Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Her winter break normally ends after her Accession Day, February 6 – the day her father George VI died in 1952.
A royal source said: ‘After the car crash of Newsnight no-one thinks a seven-hour deposition is a good idea. If he were to appear in court it could be many times worse and senior royals were deeply shocked when they heard that he was demanding a jury trial’.
The Queen is photographed this morning leaving Wood Farm on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk
The Queen is driven in a Range Rover this morning as she leaves Wood Farm on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk
The Queen looks out of the window from her Range Rover this morning as she leaves Wood Farm at Sandringham in Norfolk
Prince Charles, Prince WIlliam and other senior royals are said to be ‘deeply shocked’ by Prince Andrew’s demand for a ‘trial by jury’ (pictured together at Prince Philip’s funeral)
The Duke of York was photographed with his arm around the bare waist of then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts. In the background, Ghislaine Maxwell. Ms Roberts claims she was forced to have sex with the royal, he denies ever meeting her
Andrew’s decision to speak to the BBC’s Emily Maitlis caused major reputational problems for him and the Royal Family
The insider told The Sun: ‘The best outcome for everyone is that this is settled as soon as possible. There are deep, deep worries that this will get worse and worse for the family and will overshadow Platinum Jubilee celebrations.’
In his official response to claims made against him by Virginia Roberts five months ago, the Queen’s son issued 41 denials, rejecting all allegations of wrongdoing – but said a further 40 times that he ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ other claims.
What are Prince Andrew’s defences?
The papers, filed today by Prince Andrew’s legal counsel Andrew Brettler (pictured), contained a detail rebuttal of all of Roberts’ claims and also requested that the Royal be granted a trial by jury
The latest court document reiterated the position on the 2009 agreement which was that Ms Giuffre ‘waived the claims now asserted in the complaint’.
Another factor the duke’s legal team asked the court to consider was the issue of consent.
The document reads: ‘Assuming, without admitting, that Giuffre has suffered any injury or damage alleged in the complaint, Giuffre’s claims are barred by the doctrine of consent.’
The duke also claimed the case should be ‘barred in whole or in part by her own wrongful conduct’.
Andrew’s lawyers also asserted that Ms Giuffre should not be able to proceed because her claim for damages is ‘too speculative to be recovered at law’.
This appears to show the duke claiming Ms Giuffre’s claims cannot be proved with reasonable certainty, which would leave jurors speculating as to the actual damages suffered.
Andrew’s lawyers also stated that Ms Giuffre’s claims ‘fail to state facts sufficient to constitute viable causes of action against Prince Andrew’.
The document also argues that the claims should be dismissed because Ms Giuffre is a permanent resident of Australia.
He also submitted 11 defences calling for the case to be dismissed, including that Miss Roberts’ claims should be barred by ‘her own wrongful conduct’ and ‘unclean hands’. His decision to go ahead with the case puts him in contravention with the Royal Family who, sources say, are ‘desperate’ for him to settle and avoid the spectacle of a trial in New York later this year during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
A source said: ‘Andrew is on collision course with the Palace over this.’
Andrew had not officially responded to the 73-point civil claim as his lawyers almost immediately applied to a New York judge for it to be thrown out.
That was dismissed earlier this month, meaning he now needs to formally answer the accusations against him, including claims that Miss Roberts, suing under her married made of Giuffre, was trafficked to him by his friend, paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and forced to have sex with the duke on three occasions when she was 17.
She says this amounts to rape, sexual assault and battery as she seeks unspecified damages, thought to be in the millions of pounds. Andrew’s eight admissions were limited to information already public, such as that he is a UK citizen and resides at Royal Lodge on the Windsor Estate.
He admits his walk with Epstein in Central Park in 2010 and staying at the paedophile’s Manhattan mansion on the same trip, both caught on camera. But in his rebuttal of Miss Roberts’ complaint, Andrew denies he ever sexually abused her and refuses to ‘admit or deny’ her assertions that she was a victim of Epstein.
He even – quite remarkably given photographic evidence of their relationship over the years – denies being a ‘close friend’ of Epstein’s girlfriend and now convicted sex trafficker, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Andrew’s legal team also reject Miss Roberts’ accusation that he has refused to co-operate with US authorities in their investigation of Epstein and his co-conspirators, despite officials claiming he has done just that. Andrew makes clear he continues to dispute Miss Roberts is resident in the state of Colorado, which allows her to bring the case in the US. Now a 38-year-old mother-of-three, she lives in Perth, Australia, and it is understood Andrew’s legal team still intend to pursue this in a bid to get the case thrown out.
Regarding associations with Epstein, the royal admits he met him ‘in or around 1999’ but rejects that Maxwell was a ‘close friend’ and claims he lacks sufficient information to deny or confirm they were photographed ‘at numerous social events together’.
He says he cannot admit or deny flight logs put him on Epstein’s private jet or that he visited his private island. He confirms Epstein and Maxwell attended his 40th birthday party in 2000 – but denies throwing Maxwell a birthday party at the Sandringham estate that year.
Prince Andrew has responded to sex assault claims by Virginia Giuffre-Roberts in a new court document. Virginia alleges she was forced to have sex with the royal three times when she was aged 17 by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. The first page of the document shows Andrew’s official denial of Giuffre’s claim.
Andrew says he ‘lacks sufficient evidence to confirm or deny’ if photographic evidence of his alleged meeting with Giuffre even ‘exists’. Friends of his had suggested the infamous picture could have been doctored. He also claims he has insufficient information to know if he sent emails to Maxwell saying he had ‘some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts’ in 2015. His submission concludes with additional defence claims saying the case should be dismissed for reasons including: Miss Roberts signed away a right to sue in a legal agreement with Epstein, and accusations she also helped to procure victims of Epstein amounted to ‘wrongful conduct and the doctrine of unclean hands’. It adds: ‘Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the Complaint’.
But David Boies, Miss Roberts’ attorney, said: ‘Prince Andrew’s answer continues his approach of denying any knowledge or information concerning the claims against him, and purporting to blame the victim of the abuse for somehow bringing it on herself.’
Does this help jog your memory, sir? In court papers revealed this week, Prince Andrew said he didn’t have ‘enough information to admit or deny’ the most basic facts about him, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. Allow us to assist!
Prince Andrew‘s formal legal response to allegations made by Virginia Roberts in her civil case against him has been described as ‘defiant.’ A more jaundiced assessment might characterise it as vague and sometimes baffling.
In his answers and ‘affirmative defences’, there are 41 straight denials and a further 40 assertions that the prince ‘lacks sufficient information’ to admit or deny other claims she makes.
Amid incredulity at some of the responses, legal experts questioned the wisdom of his insistence of a trial by jury which they suggested may be a bluff ‘to buy time’.
A court-set deadline required the prince to answer Roberts’ original complaint by Wednesday. A more detailed response may presumably follow.
But given the wealth of evidence already in the public domain concerning Andrew’s relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, a number of his statements will still cause puzzlement.
On two occasions the wording in his legal defence is ambiguous enough to suggest that he denies Maxwell was ever a ‘close friend’ or that she introduced him to Epstein.
Yet during his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019 he told Emily Maitlis: ‘I met (him) through his girlfriend in 1999 …and I’ve known her since she was at university in the UK.’ This was undoubtedly a reference to Maxwell.
In the same interview he admitted flying on Epstein’s planes and staying on his island. His legal responses to the Roberts suit, in which she claims she was forced to have sex with the prince on three occasions, are rather more circumspect.
A photograph of Prince Andrew with his arm around a 17-year-old Virginia Roberts which was allegedly taken at Maxwell’s house
While Buckingham Palace is declining to comment on the prince’s tactics as Andrew is fighting to clear his name as a ‘private citizen’ after being stripped of his royal privileges, aides are fearful of more damaging headlines just a week before the start of the Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee.
In the US, lawyers said Andrew – who strenuously denies the claims of wrongdoing – was gambling on ‘an incredibly risky strategy’, but sources close to the prince insisted he was entitled to defend himself when accused of ‘such heinous crimes’.
So let’s examine some of the claims.
Prince Andrew ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ that the widely published photograph of himself, Miss Roberts and Maxwell ‘exists’.
One of the most famous – or notorious – snapshots in the world shows Andrew with his arm around the bare midriff of a 17-year-old Roberts.
It was allegedly taken in March 2001, on the first floor landing of Maxwell’s mews home in Belgravia. Roberts maintains it happened after a night out in central London.
This included dinner and dancing with a ‘sweaty’ Andrew at Tramp nightclub. She alleges he then had sex with her in Maxwell’s home. He denies that such an evening and assault took place. He has also said he had no recollection of meeting Roberts.
In the past Andrew has contested the authenticity of the picture. Where, then, is the original negative? Roberts has said variously that it was with the FBI, stored in a family home in Australia and ‘in a safe place’.
According to a Panorama documentary, legal papers reveal an ex-partner of Roberts told US officials he remembers being shown a copy of the picture – one of the most frequently viewed in the world – just weeks after it was taken.
Roberts also told the 2019 programme that a date on the back of the picture shows it was printed on March 13, 2001 – just two days after it was taken. She said: ‘It’s an authentic photo, I have given it to the FBI. There’s a date on the back of it from when it was printed.’
Andrew ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ he and Maxwell have been photographed at numerous social events together.
This is the most puzzling claim. There are numerous photographs in the public domain of the prince and Maxwell attending social events together.
Where does one start? The year 2000 is a good place. The evidence is that they spent much of it in each other’s company and in the public eye.
The party at Trump’s resort.
Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured together at a wedding
On February 12, 2000, Andrew was photographed at an event at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. In one of the pictures the prince is laughing with Melania,Trump’s now wife, Jeffrey Epstein and financier Gwendolyn Beck, with whom he was said to have been smitten during a stay on Epstein’s private Little St James island the following year. In another picture Maxwell is in conversation with a woman standing next to Andrew, as Epstein, Trump and Melania look on.
The tete a tete New York lunch.
On April 20, 2000, Andrew and Maxwell lunched together at Nello’s restaurant on 62nd Street and Madison in New York. Witnesses reported that they ate lobster salad and held hands. Andrew paid the $130 bill. They left the restaurant separately but both were pictured in the street outside.
The society wedding.
On September 2, 2000, the prince attended the Wiltshire wedding of his ex-girlfriend Aurelia Cecil. He arrived at and left the church with a female companion and the pair drove away together. The woman’s name? Ghislaine Maxwell.
The Duke of York and Ghislaine Maxwell at a Halloween party in New York
The Halloween party cuddle.
On November 6, 2000 Andrew attended supermodel Heidi Klum’s Halloween-themed party at the Hudson Bar in New York.
The prince dressed down – he took off his tie – but his female companion got into the spirit, wearing a shocking blonde wig and a midriff baring top. She was pictured with her arm round Andrew’s shoulder as they watched the crowd. Her name? Ghislaine Maxwell, again.
The Sandringham shoot.
On December 7, 2000, Epstein and Maxwell flew into the UK on his private jet – landing at RAF Marham, the pilot log for Flight 1429 suggests.
Witnesses told the Mail that the couple spent a weekend as his guests on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Epstein and Maxwell were taken on a pheasant shoot and were photographed walking in the grounds.
Andrew ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ he is named in flight logs flying with Epstein on his private plane from 1999 onwards.
It has been widely reported that a number of pilot flight logs are said to prove the Prince flew as a passenger on Epstein’s planes.
One such entry, for May 12, 2000, is said to show that Epstein’s Gulfstream II business jet flew from TEB (Teterboro Airport, New Jersey, 12 miles from Midtown Manhattan) to PBI (Palm Beach International Airport, the closest to Epstein’s Florida home).
Billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein pictured with his private jet
Epstein and his jet, which was dubbed the Lolita Express, were named in flying logs
According to the log, aboard the plane for Flight 1338 were JE (Epstein), GM (Maxwell), ET (Maxwell’s assistant), AP (thought to be Epstein’s personal chef) ‘Prince Andrew and Bodyguard’.
The latter was presumably the Prince’s Scotland Yard personal protection officer.
Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson ad Princess Eugenie pictured with Princess Beatrice at her 18th birthday party
Andrew ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ if he invited Epstein to his daughter Beatrice’s 18th birthday party in 2006, despite Epstein being charged with paedophile offences.
The prince and his family and their guests posed for photographs at their daughter’s fancy dress event that July even though Epstein’s house had already been raided by police (he was charged shortly after the party).
One of these portraits is the stuff of reputational nightmares.
It shows Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (jailed in 2018 for sexual offences), Epstein (died in jail the following year as he awaited trial on sexual offences) and a masked woman. Her name? Once again, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Andrew ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ that he didn’t know Epstein was a registered sex offender during his visit to him in New York in 2010.
Again this is a puzzling contention, given what the Prince told Emily Maitlis in his car crash interview on BBC Newsnight in November 2019.
The Duke of York walks through New York’s Central Park with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein
She asked him then: ‘Why were you staying with a convicted sex offender.’ He said: ‘I went there with the sole purpose of saying to him that because he had been convicted, it was inappropriate for us to be seen together… I felt that doing it on the telephone was the chicken’s way.’
So he did know that Epstein was a convicted sex offender when he stayed at the tycoon’s home in Manhattan in 2010. Perhaps it’s the word ‘registered’ that his legal team is picking on.
Prince Andrew is seen at paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s home in New York
Andrew denies that he ‘became a frequent guest in Epstein’s various homes around the world including New York City.’
Yet in his Newsnight interview he told Emily Maitlis he had stayed at the Manhattan mansion of the then convicted sex offender in 2010 because ‘it was a convenient place to stay.’
A leaked email exchange between Ghislaine Maxwell and the Duke of York
Andrew ‘lacks sufficient information to admit or deny’ if he emailed Maxwell stating, ‘Let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts’,’ after Roberts publicly accused him of sexually abusing her in 2015.
According to a BBC Panorama programme one month after his Newsnight debacle, the prince sent a 5.50am email to Maxwell saying ‘Let me know when we can talk.
Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts.’ Maxwell reportedly replied: ‘Have some info. Call me when you have a moment.’ The source of this leaked email is unclear.
Source: Daily Mail UK