Queen unlikely to pay for Prince Andrews lawsuit, royal expert claims

The Queen helping to pay Prince Andrew's costly legal bills amid the fresh lawsuit against him will result in a "PR disaster" for the monarch and "backlash from the public", a royal expert has claimed.

Daniela Elser, writing for News.com.au, said: "The Queen is worth about $686 million (£364 million), according to the 2021 Times annual rich list, meaning she could, in theory, dip into her vast Coutts bank accounts and get her son out of trouble.

"However, that move would be an unmitigated PR disaster for Her Majesty and would very likely face a swift and vehement backlash from the public."

On Tuesday, Prince Andrew was accused in a Manhattan courtroom of sexual assault.

Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts), one of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking victims, accused the Duke of York of sexually abusing her on three different occasions when she was under the age of 18.

Andrew has previously denied Ms Giuffre's allegations.

In a statement, the alleged victim said: “I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions.”

A spokeswoman for the duke said there was "no comment" to make when asked to respond to Ms Giuffre's decision to file a civil suit against the Prince.

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According to The Times, a summons has been sent to the Royal Lodge, the Windsor home the Duke shares with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.

The newspaper reports that Andrew has been “locked in long-distance talks with his lawyers as they draw up their strategy for fighting the suit".

The 61-year-old has not yet publicly responded to the lawsuit against him, and is currently with his mother, the Queen, at Balmoral in Scotland.

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The lawsuit by Ms Giuffre not only seeks legal action against the Duke, but also compensation.

Melissa Murray, a professor of law at New York University, told the BBC this week that Andrew “could be on the hook for significant money damages”.

Legal experts have also argued that if Ms Giuffre wins the lawsuit, the damages bill alone could come to $136 million (about £98million).

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In October last year, The Times also revealed that Andrew had hired a "working group" of lawyers, a PR specialist and a crisis management expert from London firm Blackfords.

Royal expert Daniela Elser continues: "If Ms Giuffre’s case is ultimately successful and, as the experts have speculated, she is awarded an eight-figure sum, the very, very thorny question then becomes, who would pay?

"With the case potentially lasting at least two years, none of this will go away anytime soon for the embattled royal."

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