Prince Andrew will be pulled from all next year’s Platinum Jubilee events after a US court scheduled his bombshell sex abuse case to clash with the celebrations, according to reports.
The Duke of York, who has stepped down from royal duties amid Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre’s astonishing lawsuit, will reportedly not even appear with the sovereign and other royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony for an RAF flypast.
An insider told The Sun that the plan is for Andrew, 61, to be ‘invisible’ during the four-day national royal party to mark what will be his mother the Queen‘s 70th year on the throne between Thursday, June 2 and Sunday, June 5 next year.
Judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled, with the agreement of both parties, that disclosure, which includes Andrew testifying under oath, should be completed by July 14 – just five weeks after the jubilee.
Documents lodged in New York also state that a pre-trial order is finished by July 28 next year. Lawyers will reveal Andrew’s response to the sex allegations on Friday ahead of a pre-trial review in New York next week.
Ms Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, is suing the duke for sexual assault including rape in the first degree in 2001 when she was 17 in London, New York and at other locations including Epstein’s private Caribbean island Little St James. The senior royal categorically denies that he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.
Organisers are also reportedly trying to establish what to do with Harry and Meghan during the Platinum Jubilee events, which will include street parties, a live televised gig and lighting of beacons across the UK.
Prince Andrew, left, will be pulled from all next year’s Platinum Jubilee events to mark what will be his mother the Queen’s 70th year on the throne after a US court scheduled his bombshell sex abuse case to clash with the celebrations, according to reports (right, Her Majesty on October 14, 2021)
Queen Elizabeth II with her son Prince Andrew on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June 2019
The Palace did not want to comment and a spokesman for the duke did not want to respond when approached by The Sun.
Royal expert Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell And The Palace, told the newspaper: ‘It is very sensible otherwise the attention would all be on Andrew.
The duke pictured with Virginia Roberts in London
‘It is an embarrassing situation for the Queen especially as she is stumping up for his defence. He just has to keep his head down.’
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams previously said that there will now be a ‘cloud’ over the festivities, caused by Andrew’s ‘atrociously ill-advised friendship with Epstein’.
He told MailOnline: ‘The news that the court case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Prince Andrew will be heard in the run-up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations is grim news for the Palace.
‘It means that speculation which is certain to be sensational is likely to make headline news over the coming months.
‘It is unclear if the disclosure of the 2009 settlement agreement between the deceased paedophile Epstein and Virginia Roberts, to which his lawyers have recently been given access, will be helpful to his case.
‘If Prince Andrew were required to answer questions put to him by her lawyers, he could exercise his right to be silent, or he could claim the request should be set aside as he has no evidence which is material to offer.’
The latest court document shows that Judge Kaplan intends to draw a line under any amendments to the New York proceedings by December 15.
All disclosures relating to expert witnesses should be made by June 13 with the disclosure process complete a month later. One US legal expert described the scheduling order as ‘brisk’.
Mr Fitzwilliams added that Andrew has ‘strongly denied the charges and undoubtedly believes that if he can discredit his accuser, some of whose statements have appeared contradictory, this would be a route back for him to salvage his reputation’.
He continued: ‘Obviously if he were attempt to settle, it would be seen as an admission of guilt.
Andrew has always denied claims by Virginia Giuffre (left) that she was trafficked by her abuser Jeffrey Epstein (right) to have sex with him on three occasions when she was 17
The Queen at a reception for the Global Investment Conference at Windsor Castle last Tuesday
‘At this stage it is unclear what precisely what will happen in the coming months but the publicity accompanying it will undoubtedly be deeply damaging to the royal family.
‘The Queen, who is reportedly funding his legal bills, will be celebrating an anniversary unique in this country’s history, but there will be a cloud caused by his atrociously ill-advised friendship with Epstein.
Virginia Giuffre is pictured after a hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case in New York in 2019
‘However, a very serious block to any rehabilitation is the court of public opinion in which his support is, according to polls, almost non-existent.
‘There has been no indication that he has cooperated with the FBI who are trying to trace Epstein’s accomplices, as he promised to do.’
Andrew, who was a close friend of financier and convicted paedophile Epstein, has always denied Virginia Giuffre’s claims that she was trafficked by her abuser to have sex with him on three occasions when she was 17.
Although the prince and his legal team were shocked when she suddenly lodged a civil claim against him in April, they now intend to use it to try to prove his innocence once and for all.
They have until this Friday to respond to the claims in her lawsuit, with a further hearing at a court in Manhattan due to be held next week. Epstein killed himself while in custody.
Mr Fitzwilliams continued: ‘His (Andrew’s) interview with Emily Maitlis is one of the greatest public relations disasters in royal history.
‘There appears to be no way back for him, which is why he may feel he has little to lose in conducting a more aggressive defence.
‘The damage to the monarchy, however, may be considerable during a period which ought to be one of rejoicing.’
In the Newsnight interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions and said: ‘I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.
‘I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.’
The duke also said he has no memory of a well-known photograph of him with his arm around Ms Giuffre’s waist and has questioned whether it was his own hand in the image.
The fallout from the interview saw the royal criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with disgraced financier.
Earlier this month the Metropolitan Police said it was taking no action over Ms Giuffre’s claims. Andrew has not been charged with any crime.