Buckingham Palace is still trying to figure out how to handle Prince Andrew’s ongoing legal battles, but sources say they might have come to a decision. Could Andrew be exiled from the royal family?
Andrew Could Be Facing ‘Internal Exile’
Sources close to the royal family told The Sunday Times that, if Andrew loses the lawsuit brought by Virginia Guiffre, he might be asked to stop using his royal title. In addition to no longer being addressed as His Royal Highness, The Duke of York, Andrew might also be sent into “internal exile.” This exile would mean disappearing from public life; no more high-profile appearances at royal functions or overseas trips.
The source told The Sunday Times, “Andrew is still patron of a heck of a lot of charities and they would have to go as well. He couldn’t go abroad because of the risk of extradition so there would have to be a form of internal exile. He would need to scale back on his housing.” The prince has already stepped back from his royal duties — former tabloid editor Kelvin McKenzie told CBS News that the prince was told by the royal family that he’s no longer “representing anything.”
The Allegations Against Him
Guiffre is a victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring. She alleges that she was sexually abused by Prince Andrew three times when she was 17 years old and is currently seeking damages in US court.
Andrew’s legal team attempted to block Guiffre’s lawsuit, saying it was invalid because she no longer lives in the US. However, this attempt was dismissed by a US judge and the lawsuit is still ongoing.
This week, a judge is expected to unseal a 2009 settlement agreement between Guiffre and Epstein. The release of this agreement could potentially shield Prince Andrew from the lawsuit, according to his legal team. They argue that the agreement prevents the prince and others from lawsuits like this from Guiffre and hope that the judge will dismiss the suit. The court will hear oral arguments this week over whether to throw out the lawsuit or not.
Andrew and Family Deny Allegations
Andrew and the royal family have denied the allegations, but the recent conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s partner, might make it harder for him to claim he was not involved. Maxwell is the one who introduced Epstein and Prince Andrew.
However, nothing has been decided yet and Prince Andrew is still a part of the royal family. Buckingham Palace released a statement about these rumors, saying, “This is speculation and the comments are without foundation. We would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.”