Prince Andrew controversy has spurred preliminary discussions about a larger rearrangement of the royal family's military roles. The Duke, 61, wants to keep his job as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards; but advisers admit that if he is forced to withdraw from public life permanently, as is generally predicted, he will have to be replaced.
Last week, a legal complaint alleging him of sexual abuse, including rape in the first degree, against Virginia Roberts Giufffre, then 17, was filed in New York, further isolating him, with even his brother, Prince Charles, believing there may be no route back to royal responsibilities.
Prince Charles aims to protect the monarchy
The Duke of Kent is expected to retire as Colonel of the Scots Guards at the age of 85, leaving another vacancy while the Duke of Sussex's honorary titles, notably the renowned Captain-General of the Royal Marines, have yet to be filled, as per The Daily Telegraph.
Buckingham Palace has remained tight-lipped about the situation, fearing that announcing Prince Andrew's position too soon might be regarded as prejudicing the lawsuit's conclusion. However, there have been early conversations regarding the possibility of General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the Army's chief of staff and a former head of the SAS, becoming the Grenadier Guards Colonel.
According to Palace insiders, the new sexual abuse and battery case filed against Prince Andrew would further reinforce Prince Charles' belief that his brother has no path back to public life. Because of the seriousness of the claims, the Prince of Wales will concentrate on protecting the monarchy and will not take any risks. All accusations leveled against Prince Andrew have been refuted time and time again.
After she and several other women came forward to share their grooming experiences, Giuffre was important in exposing Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking ring. She says she was sexually assaulted by the Duke of York three times: once in London at the house of Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell, and again in Manhattan and the US Virgin Islands at Epstein's homes.
She claims that Prince Andrew was fully aware of her age and that she was a victim of sex trafficking when he acted, Express.co reported. Giuffre was 17 years old at the time of the alleged assault. In the US Virgin Islands, the legal age of consent is 18.
While no inquiry is now ongoing with the Met Police, Scotland Yard head Dame Cressida Dick said the information will be reviewed and cautioned that "no one is above the law." Giuffre, who is now 38 years old, is seeking damages for the Duke's conduct causing her "severe emotional and psychological distress and harm."
In the 1990s, the Duke befriended Jeffrey Epstein, who remained pals with him until his 2008 conviction for child prostitution. After they were seen together in New York in 2010, he ended the friendship due to public criticism.
Epstein specialist will testify against Prince Andrew
Last night, it was reported that Jeffrey Epstein's telecommunications expert will declare in the oath that he witnessed Prince Andrew groping Virginia Giuffre on the billionaire's Paedo Island.
Between 2001 and 2004, Steve Scully claims to have seen the Duke of York kissing and grinding against a blonde lady in a bikini beside a swimming pool on Little Saint James, whom he believes was Prince Andrew's sex accuser.
It comes after sources close to Giuffre said that the "arrogant" prince had grossly miscalculated the gravity of the charges leveled against him, as per Daily Mail. Epstein's employee went on to say that after many minutes of bumping and grinding, he observed them laying on lounge chairs.
Meanwhile, royal aides have allegedly pointed out "inconsistencies" in the Duke's description of his connection with Giuffre. Prince Andrew's attorneys are working very hard to keep the matter from going to trial in the United States, fearing that jurors would side with an alleged sexual abuse victim over him.
While the 61-year-old has vehemently refuted the allegations, many inside the palace feel his version of events may have credibility issues. Lawyers said that when Miss Roberts was transported to London in 2001, Epstein, Maxwell, and the prince all compelled her to have sex with Prince Andrew against her will.
They said that two more such events occurred at Epstein's house in New York and his private island, Little Saint James, in the US Virgin Islands. In a post-car-crash Newsnight interview in 2019, the prince denied the allegations, claiming he was in a Pizza Express in Woking at the time, not in London.
Despite a widely circulated photo of the two smiling together that same year, he maintains he has no recall of ever meeting Giuffre. Friends have questioned the authenticity of the photograph although there has been no indication that it is fake.