Prince Andrew’s civil sexual assault case will continue, and Meghan’s role could be devastating not only to him, but to the entire royal family.
There are many shiny attributes that Prince Andrew no longer uses these days. Job. Official royal role. Not a drop of respect from the public. Shabby passport. The ability to enter a restaurant anywhere in the world and not receive a volley of buns thrown at his head.
One of the few perks the pitiful 61-year-old holds onto is his shiny Range Rover (reportedly replete with cosmetic numbers), in which he is regularly photographed, perpetually terrified and chin-chinned as bugs zip up and down the private roads on The Windsor estate is for him to get out of his 30-room Royal Lodge and Mumsey Castle.
What about today’s visit? Or at least the next time he makes the roughly 8km dash from the house he shares with his ex-wife and where he reportedly spends his days watching TV and doing little else? Well, that will be especially bad.
Overnight, a New York judge rejected Andrew’s motion to drop a civil sexual harassment case against him after Virginia Giuffre last year accused the royal of three times she raped her as a teenager. (The Duke of York has always vehemently denied the accusations.)
Obviously, this is bad news for Andrew and his small retinue of supporters. (It says a lot that the only people staunchly defending him in public are his ex-wife, who relies on his good graces to keep a roof over her head, and his army of mercenary legal Rottweilers.)
But this solution is actually worse – much worse – for Andrew than you might think.
Let me explain.
Attempts by his lawyers to dismiss Ms. Giuffre’s case have stumbled upon a brick wall, and the way is now clear for them to proceed, and the trial is due to take place between September and December.
However, exactly what will happen in the next six months should keep Andrew awake at night, and that is the opening process.
In other words, the internal affairs of the royal family and the palace can be brutally exposed in a completely and completely unprecedented way.
Let’s start with the readings.
Andrew is now faced with the prospect of his family being put in a hot chair and roasted on camera and under oath. (It has been 20 years since one of the Queen’s children last appeared in court, when Princess Anne became the first royal to have a criminal record after pleading guilty after her dog bit two of her children.)
David Boyes, the New York City Law Center representing Ms. Giuffre, said he might also want to interview Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of Sussex, and his daughter, Princess Beatrice, which can get very stressful and a disturbing experience for a new mom.
Then we come to Megan, the Duchess of Sussex, who, according to Mr. Boyes, can also be called as a witness. Daily beast at the end of December: “This is the one who, obviously, at least for some time was a close companion of Prince Andrey and, therefore, is able, perhaps, to see what he was doing, and maybe, if not to see that he did, hear people talk about it. “
Although the 40-year-old has never commented publicly on Andrew’s situation, given her position as an avowed feminist and royal agitator, the chances of her coming out in support of him stand a chance of snowballing on Montecito’s summer day.
Andrew is also likely to be formally questioned by Ms. Giuffre’s lawyers, a process that will take up to seven hours, according to former US Attorney Michell Epner. Judging by the dreadful performance of the Duke of York during a 2019 television interview that triggered his public downfall, it doesn’t bode well.
But here’s the really juicy part of the opening process: the docs.
In the coming months, royal emails, text messages, personal correspondence, duty logs, diaries and even medical records may be scrutinized and made public.
The iron curtain of secrecy that ruthlessly defended the House of Windsor may be about to be brutally torn down, and lawyers will be allowed to plunder, at least digitally, the most protected and private corners of royal life.
Not only for the family, but also for an institution that has long operated under a kind of code of silence that would have impressed the Sicilian mafiosi, the prospect that their daily communications would be subject not only to legal but also to media and public scrutiny. must be completely terrifying. …
Do you know what they say about seeing how a sausage is made? Well, we can all learn a very interesting lesson in the royal trap.
Who knows what level of damage, when their deepest thoughts and conversations are released into the world, can cause damage to the already dented reputation of the royal family.
In recent months, emails and texts from HRH have been taken to court and have been impressively awkward. In November, Meghan had to apologize to the London Court of Appeals for forgetting to provide information notes to the controversial biographer’s writers after communication with an assistant was presented in evidence.
The thought literally drives you crazy at the thought that Andrew’s messages can tell not only about himself, but also about his family.
But all this paperwork can be very harmful for him, not only because of what is in it, but also because of what is not in it.
Andrew’s lawyers have already been forced to admit in court that they have no documentary evidence to support his claims that he cannot sweat for medical reasons, a claim that is central to his account of the events, and they were unable to name names. … any bystanders must be at the world’s most famous chain restaurant outpost, Pizza Express: Woking.
That everything is very strange. Andrew, at least in the early 2000s, when he was walking with his friends Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell – a couple who later became a convicted sex offender (Epstein) and a convicted child trafficker for sexual exploitation (Maxwell) – received protection on the outside is a specialized unit of the Metropolitan Police that takes care of the Prime Minister and the Queen’s family. (With friends like that and a Central Asian despot here and there in addition, Andrew’s address book must be awful to read.)
Such an arrangement would undoubtedly create a paper trail that could easily be created that could corroborate his claims and provide him with ready-made witnesses to confirm his whereabouts. Conversely, the same information or, more precisely, its absence can also harm his case.
However, it is in no way guaranteed that Ms. Giuffre will get her way in court.
While there were reports over the weekend that Andrew’s side might move to negotiate a settlement with the mother of three who now lives in Perth, given the tenacity and courage she has shown in standing up for what she thinks is right, it’s hard to imagine that she would settle for a fast payday. (Under the terms of this arrangement, Andrew would not plead guilty.)
Instead, Andrew could have done … nothing. If he refuses from this point on to participate in the proceedings, the judge will rule in Ms Giuffre’s favor and will most likely award her damages. But this tactic would interfere with the discovery process. He will also be able to say that he was ordered to make amends by default. While this would be a very unpleasant and cunning maneuver, the pros for Andrew might outweigh the cons.
Apart from an unconditional victory in the New York case, the royal family has no other good outcome here, only fewer bad ones.
In the meantime, in the coming weeks and months, expect to see Andrew driving his Range Rover and many visits to Windsor Castle. Not that he has other things to do, the situation is unlikely to change even if he ultimately triumphs in court. After all, you know what they say about what you reap, especially when you’ve been flirting with a convicted sex offender.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of leading Australian media outlets.