Isabel Langguth investigates the Prince Andrew controversy, and the potential implications for the royal family.
This article contains mention of sexual assault.
Since Epstein’s suicide in 2019 and Maxwell’s conviction just before the New Year, the public and media’s focus has now turned to Prince Andrew.
Prince Andrew has yet to face any legal repercussions for his alleged involvement in the numerous sex crimes Epstein and Maxwell committed against minors from the 90s into the early 2000s.
Confirming Prince Andrew’s involvement has been a long journey riddled with apparent inconsistencies. Princes Andrew has remained adamant that he had no involvement with any of the crimes committed by Epstein and Maxwell, despite numerous testimonies, witnesses, and photos with victim Virginia Giuffre around the time of the first reported assault.
Virginia Giuffre has continued to pursue a civil lawsuit against Princess Andrew; despite recent efforts by Princes Andrew’s lawyers to drop the case. The judge determined no probable cause to drop the case. Guiffre first filed a civil lawsuit in August 2021, accusing Prince Andrew of sexual assault and battery during her teenage years. Guiffre testified that Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her on three separate occasions after Epstein trafficked her at age 16.
The first incident of sexual assault reportedly took place in London in 2001, after she was introduced to Prince Andrew by Epstein and Maxwell. Guiffre says that Prince Andrew was aware that she was underage and had not given consent and was ordered by Maxwell to ‘do for Andrew what you do for Jeffrey.‘
It is doubtful that the royal family as a whole will ever face any repercussions for Andrew’s actions beyond the bad publicity the initial scandal and this current lawsuit has brought them.
The second occasion is alleged to have occurred in Epstein’s mansion in New York, and the third was on Epstein’s private island, in the US Virgin Islands. Ms. Guiffre attests in the lawsuit that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew through explicit and implicit threats. She was fearful of Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew’s power: connections, money, and authority.
Prince Andrew’s interview with the BBC in 2019 has become infamous due to the lack of consistency and almost humorously poor excuses. Perhaps the most well-known moment from the interview is where she stated that his London meeting with Guiffre ‘didn’t happen’ and claims that on that date, he was with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, at a Pizza Express in Woking. During the same interview, Prince Andrew also stated that he could not explain a photo of him with Guiffre and Maxwell in the background that Guiffre had asked Epstein to take.
Allegations again Jeffrey Epstein first arose in 2005, and in 2006 an arrest warrant was issued against him for the sexual assault of a minor. Despite this, Prince Andrew invited Epstein and Maxwell to his daughter’s, Princess Beatrice’s, 18th birthday during the summer of 2006.
Prince Andrew states that he only became aware of the arrest warrant and allegations later that year which made him allegedly stop contact with Epstein. However, Prince Andrew admitted he visited Epstein in New York in December 2010 for four days. Prince Andrew insists that the visit was to break off their friendship.
The royal family have been busy doing damage control since Prince Andrew decided to do the BBC 2019 interview. In November 2019, Prince Andrew publicly announced that he would be retracting his royal duties, likely not by choice.
It is doubtful that the royal family as a whole will ever face any repercussions for Andrew’s actions beyond the bad publicity the initial scandal and this current lawsuit has brought them. However, the royal family seems more removed from Prince Andrew and his reputation, aside from his title. Currently, no evidence suggests he is a member of the royal family; he has been completely removed and alienated from royal life- and it seems that it’s going to stay that way.
If won, the lawsuit will provide some justice for Guiffre; however, public opinion seems to be that just like Maxwell, he should be serving jail time, not paying a fee that he can quite easily afford.