Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Charles told by expert support for Andrew’s legal bid ‘can’t end well’

Prince Andrew leaves Sandringham Christmas day service

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King Charles has been warned the way he handles the issue of Prince Andrew as a public figure could define his reign. Royal commentator Daniela Elser discussed the report that the new monarch may not oppose his brother if he decides to try to overturn the out-of-court settlement he struck with Virginia Giuffre in early 2022.

In an op-ed for the NZ Herald, Ms Elser noted recent reports show how Prince Andrew may be getting closer to a return to the spotlight, almost four years after he announced he was temporarily stepping back from public duties and had stopped using his HRH style in an official capacity.

Ms Elser wrote how the report claiming Charles may not oppose Andrew’s new legal bid comes amid a series of claims possibly signalling a restoration of Andrew’s public figure may be underway.

Among the reports she mentioned, was one stating the King may be considering allowing Andrew to use his HRH style on correspondence and another saying the monarch may be green-lighting Andrew’s pursuit of some business interest.

Ms Elser commented the leniency towards Andrew in these reports “spells nothing but disaster” for the King.

She claimed: “The King cannot afford to let anything derail things at such a highly sensitive and important time for him as he is trying to subtly, but decisively, put his stamp on the monarchy. There is no way that Charles’ support for Andrew can end well.”

The commentator noted recent polls have shown King Charles’s popularity among Britons decreasing since September, when he acceded to the throne.

This popularity dip may have been caused by a number of factors, including the ending of the honeymoon period between the public and the new monarch as well as the publication of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare, which features a number of damning claims against the Firm.

Ms Elser wrote: “His Majesty now faces a decisive test of his leadership as he navigates the coming months.”

The commentator recalled reports emerged in 2022, claiming the King and Prince William were “dismayed” after Andrew featured prominently in the memorial service for Prince Philip by walking the late Queen to her seat.

She continued: “Will Charles stick with his ruling, delivered to a ‘tearful’ Andrew at a one-on-one meeting in November last year per the Mail, that there was no way back for the duke in terms of public life?

“Sure, Harry’s Spare might have rattled a few sets of palace dentures and seen the Palace merchandising team take dog bowls off their new products list, but the Andrew mess could derail Charles’ reign before it has really begun.

“If Charles fails to get this right, it will be particularly damning and will deal a serious blow at a particularly fragile, precarious moment for theming.”

Prince Andrew was hit by a civil lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre in the summer of 2021.

The Duke of York was accused of sexually abusing Ms Giuffre when she was aged 17 and being trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew vehemently and repeatedly denied any allegations against him.

In his now notorious interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in November 2019, the Duke claimed to have no recollection of ever meeting Ms Giuffre.

In January last year, the Duke returned his military and royal patronages to the Queen the day after US Judge Lewis A. Kaplan refused to dismiss the case against the royal.

The Duke then announced his intention to seek trial by jury – but a few weeks later he reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre – which did not represent an admission of liability on his behalf.

The Duke has since made only a handful of public appearances, mostly connected to paying tribute to his late parents.

The Mail on Sunday, however, reported the claim the Duke has consulted lawyers in a bid to get Ms Giuffre to retract her allegations and possibly secure an apology.

Andrew is believed to have started considering overturning the agreement after Mrs Giuffre dropped in late 2022 her defamation lawsuit against high-profile US lawyer Alan Dershowitz, whom she had accused of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.

The lawyer had counter-sued Mrs Giuffre while also vehemently denying any allegations against him.

Upon dropping the case, Mrs Giuffre said she “may have made a mistake” in accusing Mr Dershowitz.

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