Have your say: Should Prince Andrew ever return to public life?
With a sexual abuse lawsuit looming over him, it has been claimed that some royal sources believe Prince Andrew will never make a return to public life.
Virginia Giuffre’s decision to sue the Queen’s son for alleged sexual assault in the US means Andrew faces the prospect of her giving a detailed account in open court about allegations he had sex with her while she was underage.
Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein when a 17-year-old to have sex with the royal, and said it was “past the time for him to be held to account”.
A source close to Prince Charles has now told The Times that even if Giuffre’s case fails, Andrew will never be brought back to the royal fold due to the “reputational damage” of his links to Epstein.
The source said: “This will be unwelcome reputational damage to the institution. He [Charles] has long ago concluded that it is probably an unsolvable problem.”
Andrew has vehemently denied Giuffre’s allegations in the past, and a spokesman for the duke said there was “no comment” when she was asked to respond to the civil suit.
The duke does not have to attend or give evidence in the civil proceedings in New York, but the legal action will be a further blow to his reputation and the standing of the monarchy, according to Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine.
Andrew stepped back from public duties after the backlash from his "car crash" appearance on BBC Newsnight, which had attempted to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein – but instead saw him heavily criticised for showing little empathy with the sex offender’s victims.
Little told Channel 4 News: “I can’t think any kind of rehabilitation that will bring him back into the royal fold as a working member of the family.”
Lawyers for Giuffre filed the civil suit seeking unspecified damages at a federal court in New York, where the court documents claim she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein, including while she was still a minor under US law.
Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state’s Child Victims Act, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.
Andrew does not have to engage in the civil proceedings, and he does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing as this only applies to criminal charges and not civil cases.
But the lawyer representing the Duke of York’s accuser has warned against anyone ignoring the US courts as he claimed the royal’s legal team have “stonewalled” appeals for information.
David Boies told Channel 4 news that Andrew’s lawyers have not cooperated, adding: “They have just totally stonewalled. They have refused to provide any explanation, they refuse to engage in any discussions.”
Watch: Virginia Giuffre's lawyer on Prince Andrew lawsuit