Prince Andrew is finding sex abuse trial ‘really hard’, claims close friend

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The Duke of York, in his role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards, at a memorial in Bruges to mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Belgian town.
Lady Victoria Hervey has said the disastrous Newsnight interview was evidence Prince Andrew has nothing to hide. (Getty)

Prince Andrew is struggling to cope with the long-running sex abuse allegations, a close friend has said.

Socialite Lady Victoria Hervey, who is an ex-girlfriend of the royal, told the i newspaper she was still in touch with his family and the case was taking its toll on him.

Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

Andrew has strenuously denied all allegations.

The case is set to go to trial after a judge threw out the duke's motion to dismiss it in January.

Speaking to The i, Lady Victoria Hervey said: "Obviously, something like this has been really hard for him.

"Imagine getting, you know, having this sort of situation. It’s been going on, what, 10 years now."

CANNES, FRANCE - JULY 11: Lady Victoria Hervey attends the
Lady Victoria Hervey said she was still in touch with Andrew's family and the situation was taking its toll. (Getty)

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She told the newspaper that while Andrew's infamous Newsnight appearance had "obviously backfired", the fact he was willing to do such an interview meant he was confident in his innocence.

"There’s just no way that someone like him would do an interview if there was any inkling that he was not innocent," she added. "There’s just no way and I remember seeing that on TV. I was like, just impossible."

Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke for damages in New York, claiming she was trafficked by infamous financier Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law, at the London home of disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in the early 2000s.

Prince Andrew arriving at the Queen's Christmas Lunch, Buckingham Palace, London.
Prince Andrew has been stripped of his royal titles and patronages. (Getty)

The duke is also alleged to have sexually abused Ms Giuffre during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, and on a separate occasion at the financier’s Manhattan mansion.

Following the ruling that Andrew's trial could go ahead, he was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen.

At the time, Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.

"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen."

Watch: Prince Andrew's birthday will still be marked by the flying of the Union flag

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