Trial is a devastating blow to Prince Andrew – and the royal family | Prince Andrew

New York court ruling that the civil sexual assault case against the Duke of York will continue is a devastating blow to Prince Andrew and the royals after more than a decade of allegations and innuendo .

Aside from any appeal Prince Andrew may be able to bring against Wednesday’s ruling, he faces the ignominious prospect of having to testify in a sexual assault trial and face cross-examination on aspects of his life. private to clear his name. To win or lose is an unprecedented chapter in the modern history of the royal family.

One option to avoid this uncomfortable scenario would be to reach a settlement, although with this being the momentum of this case around the world, it seems unlikely that it could satisfactorily rehabilitate its reputation.

Since Andrew was photographed in 2010 in Central Park in New York City with sex offender and wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, the Duke’s public image has been tarnished by association. When, in 2011, the photograph of Andrew with his arm around the waist of then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts appeared, it doomed him even more in the court of public opinion.

But it was in 2015 that Roberts, now Giuffre, first alleged in legal documents that she was forced to have sex with the prince – at Epstein’s New York mansion, on his private island in the US Virgin Islands and at Maxwell’s in London.

Since then, all of Andrew’s attempts to fight the allegations – which he vehemently denies – while trying to avoid a courtroom confrontation, have failed.

His 2019 Newsnight interview, a high-stakes ploy, was widely ridiculed as a car accident and deteriorated his public reputation. This prompted the Queen to make the firm and swift decision that her second son must step down from royal duties and his Pitch @ Palace entrepreneurial initiative.

Apart from any appeal of Judge Lewis Kaplan’s decision, Andrew is now faced with the “discovery” phase, which involves taking depositions.

“This will involve witnesses on both sides being interviewed by the opposing legal team in the presence of their own legal team and either in the presence of a court reporter to take a text transcript, or with the interview videotaped” for the court record, ”said Nick Goldstone, dispute resolution manager at Ince.

“It would be possible to have Prince Andrew deposed [interviewed] in the UK, he would therefore not need to travel to New York for his testimony.

“If the case progresses to trial, I think the prince would be under enormous pressure to appear in person if he wants to testify in his defense. He can, of course, refuse to appear, and I’m sure he cannot be compelled to appear. I think he’s unlikely to be allowed to appear at trial via remote video link, and in any event, from a presentation standpoint, that wouldn’t look good. “

Another option, as unappealing as it may be for Andrew, would be to stop the whole process by making a deal with Giuffre. “If he cannot have it struck off, he has the choice of asserting it at trial and facing the consequences of a verdict, which may or may not be in his favor. Or settle the case under the best possible conditions and gain certainty by resolving the case without having to appear, ending that process, perhaps unsatisfactorily, but ending the legal process, ”Goldstone said.

“I think this story has now grown so big that it is a difficult case to settle with him having a future public life,” he added.

Since the Newsnight interview, which backfired so dramatically, Buckingham Palace has sought to put a gap between the institution of the monarchy and Andrew’s legal woes. Questions about the case are routinely passed on to Andrew’s legal representatives, with the Queen’s aides declining to comment.

Andrew may not have any current role in public life, and may never have one again, although he has hopes that his reputation can be rehabilitated. But he is still a member of the royal family, and as such his presence at family events continues.

When the Duke of Edinburgh passed away and family members paid tribute in television interviews, Andrew, courtesy of the Queen, was given a leading role speaking to the media. He visited her at Balmoral in the summer and has been photographed several times driving from his Windsor home to Windsor Castle to see his mother.

But the Queen is 96 in April. Prince Charles and Prince William, the next two to the throne, will take a lot of the temperature of the nation’s mood reflected by Andrew’s fall in the polls, and both fear he may never play a role. public again – even if he manages to clear his name.

“The Duke of York’s reputation is so tarnished that if the case goes to trial and he wins, his rehabilitation would be minimal,” said Joe Little, editor of Majesty magazine.

“The only official proof of the Queen’s support for her second son is that she accepts him stepping down from his royal role at the end of 2019 as the crisis escalated. However, as Andrew’s mother, she continues to see him regularly at Windsor Castle, so the personal bond is clearly still in place, ”he added.

“The Queen, Charles and William, aware of the damage done to the institution of the monarchy, may need to take decisive action before the situation escalates.

“Formal retirement as an active royal, perhaps, and the abandonment of military appointments and patronage.”