Prince Andrew, 61, is at the centre of a civil sex abuse claim brought against him by one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, Virginia Giuffre. Ms Giuffre’s lawyers filed a civil suit against the Duke of York in a federal court in New York last month. She alleges Mr Epstein forced her to have sex with the Duke on three separate occasions when she was underage.
Prince Andrew has vehemently denied all allegations.
Last week, the Duke expanded his American legal team by hiring Melissa Lerner, a Princeton and Columbia graduate, to work alongside his lead counsel Andrew Brettler in the case.
Both lawyers are representatives of the LA based law firm Lavley Singer, and Mr Brettler is thought to be charging the Duke around $2,000 an hour for his legal services.
With the appointment of Ms Lerner to the case, additional junior staff plus a UK-based legal team led by criminal defence solicitor Gary Bloxsome, Prince Andrew could be facing eye-watering legal bills, which are reportedly being footed by the Queen.
It comes following a prediction made by US Lawyer Mr Kuvin for the Sunday Mirror which estimated Andrew’s extraordinarily large legal bill and how many hours the Prince’s legal team could see him facing a £360k legal bill.
Queen Elizabeth II, 95, agreed to pay for her son’s defence at the beginning of last year, The Telegraph reports.
Her funding agreement reportedly came shortly after the Prince’s disastrous Newsnight interview in 2019, where Andrew said “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened” when asked if he’d met Ms Giuffre, previously Ms Roberts.
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The Telegraph reports that “the Queen’s financial intervention was considered a necessity” as experts have pointed out that Prince Andrew has no discernible income, apart from receiving a £20,000 annual navy pension.
It comes following news that last year he and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson were sued by the previous owner of their Swiss ski chalet, who alleged that they owed her £6.7 million after purchasing it for around £17 million in 2014.
The chalet is currently on the brink of being sold to repay that debt, and upon completion it will mean the Duke no longer owns any property.
Andrew resides at Royal Lodge in Windsor on the Queen’s estate, but the property is leased to him.
On Thursday, the Duke returned to the property after spending time at the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.
Andrew has until October 29 to respond to the lawsuit and the next hearing is scheduled for November 3.
Representatives for the Duke of York declined to comment on the claims.