It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for the royal family.
From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their roles as senior working royals, and the subsequent tell-all Oprah interview that alleged racism and bullying, to Prince Andrew’s disastrous BBC Newsnight appearance and ongoing legal troubles, negative press has followed the Royal Family around faithfully in recent years, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon.
Case in point: the recent revelation that the Queen will spend millions of pounds privately funding the Duke of York’s defence case following allegations of sexual abuse.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, Her Majesty will use her personal Duchy of Lancaster estate to pay for Prince Andrew’s legal defence, after it was reported that the duke is facing a new civil lawsuit in New York, brought against him by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
The publication reports that the monarch agreed to pay for her second son’s legal defence shortly after his controversial Newsnight interview, in which he addressed his friendship with disgraced financier Epstein, and the accusations brought against him by Giuffre, who he claims he has no recollection of meeting.
The prince was accused of sexual abuse by Giuffre in 2019 (claims he denies), and was pulled from his role as a working royal shortly afterwards.
Andrew has recently expanded his legal team in the US, hiring Melissa Lerner to work alongside lead counsel Andrew Brettler, who is reportedly charging around $2,000 an hour, per The Independent. The prince is additionally having to fund his UK legal team, which is led by criminal defence solicitor Gary Bloxsome.
According to The Telegraph’s report, Andrew’s legal team is thought to be keeping the Queen up to date on developments in the case.
Though Giuffre’s suit did not have a sum specified, she is reportedly looking for both compensatory and punitive damages.
This isn’t the first time questions have been raised over how Andrew will pay for the long-running legal battle, with the newspaper previously reporting that the prince has “no discernible income”.
The Royal Family have kept Andrew largely out of the spotlight in the wake of the allegations. A recent official statement announcing the birth of Princess Beatrice’s first child, for example, did not name Andrew, instead referring generically to the “the new baby’s grandparents and great-grandparents”.