The Queen will spend millions of pounds privately funding the Duke of York’s defence case against allegations of sexual abuse, it has been reported.
She agreed to pay for her son’s legal defence shortly after his car crash Newsnight interview, in which he addressed his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Prince Andrew is fighting a lawsuit brought against him in New York by Epstein victim Victoria Roberts Giuffre. She has accused Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her when she was 17 at the home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in London.
Prince Andrew has always denied these claims.
He has recently expanded his legal team in America, hiring Melissa Lerner to work alongside lead counsel Andrew Brettler. The case is understood to be extremely expensive and Mr Brettler is reportedly charging around $2,000 an hour.
Prince Andrew is also having to pay his UK legal team, led by criminal defence solicitor Gary Bloxsome.
The Telegraph reported that the Queen will stump up the funds for the lengthy court battle and will use income from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate. Income from the estate grew up £1.5m last year to a total annual intake of more than £23m.
The prince’s UK legal team is reportedly keeping the Queen up to date on developments in the case.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment comment on the report.
The source of Prince Andrew’s wealth is not widely known. David McClure, a royal finance expert, speaking about the arrangments, said: “Prince Andrew’s finances are shrouded in a pea soup of impenetrability. This is symbolised by the fact that no one knows how he was able to get a mortgage for some £13m to buy a luxury ski chalet in Verbier in 2014.
“He has an affluent lifestyle, but where does the money come from? He has no discernible income.”
In the latest update from the case, Prince Andrew’s lawyers have obtained the deal signed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre in 2009 to settle her civil claim against Epstein. His team think that the contents of the deal with release Prince Andrew “from any and all liability”.
However, in an apparent blow to the defence case, Ms Robert Giuffre’s lawyers have asked a judge to sign off on the handover of the deal – a signal that they think it will have little bearing on the case, theDaily Mail reported.