London police taking 'no further action' over Prince Andrew review

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CNN 11 October, 2021 - 05:22am 6 views

Prince William Thinks Prince Andrew Is 'Threat,' 'Risk,' and 'Danger' to Royal Family

The Daily Beast 11 October, 2021 - 08:20am

If Prince Andrew is feeling downbeat about Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s lawsuit against him—alleging he sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was a minor, which he emphatically denies—today’s detailed U.K. Sunday Times report about how disliked he is among the rest of the royals and those professionally associated with him will only darken his mood.

A friend of Prince William’s tells the paper, “William is no fan of Uncle Andrew.” The paper also says that William, like the rest of the royals, believes Prince Andrew’s expulsion from public life should be permanent. “There is no way in the world he’s ever coming back, the family will never let it happen,” a royal source says.

A source goes on to say that one of the “triggers” that “really gets” William is his uncle’s perceived “ungracious and ungrateful” attitude towards his position, which William considers “a risk” and “threat to the family,” the Times says. “Any suggestion that there isn’t gratitude for the institution, anything that could lead anyone in the public to think that senior members of the royal family aren’t grateful for their position, [William thinks] is really dangerous,” the source told the paper.

It is often said that Andrew’s real shield is the queen; when he seemed to be on the run from being served the Giuffre legal papers, he went straight to her Scottish summer home, Balmoral. But the Times says the oft-repeated story that he is her favorite child is not true, and she is more focused on protecting the institution than Andrew.

As for Prince Charles, the paper reports that “the prince loves his brother”, but Giuffre’s lawsuit continues to bring “unwelcome reputational damage to the institution,” meaning—as far as Charles is concerned—“a way back for the duke is demonstrably not possible, because the specter of this [accusation] raises its head with hideous regularity.”

How is Andrew feeling about this family pile-on? Well, unsurprisingly not great. There is no shared toast and marmalade here.

Andrew’s camp tells the Times that the palace could be “much more supportive and engaged” over the Giuffre lawsuit. A source close to Andrew says the royals “have just stuck their fingers in their ears and gone, ‘Make it stop, make it go away.’ But Harry and Meghan should have taught them that even when a problem ‘goes away’, it doesn’t go away. The duke can no more be disinvested as a senior member of the royal family than Harry and Meghan can. It is who and what they are. If they don’t engage at all, it is going to become like Harry and Meghan on steroids.”

The problem Andrew faces, and which the Sunday Times sketches in excruciatingly damning detail, is that no one in his family or royal circles has a nice word to say about him. Like, absolutely no one. Andrew is described as boorish, arrogant, and insufferable—hence the deafening silence when it comes to anyone offering their support to him.

One aide tells the Times: “He’s not made any friends on the way up, so no one is helping him on the way down.” One Whitehall source says he is a “a self-important bore.” “I’ve got no time for Andrew. He’s a total dickhead, an arrogant shit,” a military source adds for good measure. “A total diva, lashing out at everyone,” says another, recalling his 2012 abseil down the Shard in London.

A former staff member says: “He’s quite an arrogant chap with a tendency to blame other people when things go wrong, instead of looking at his own behavior. The Duke of York has never been one to take advice that doesn’t suit him, and he doesn’t hold back in letting you know what to do with that advice that he doesn’t want to hear.” “He’s a deeply unpleasant man,” another former aide tells the Times. “The difference you see between him and the way Prince William and the Prince of Wales treat their staff with respect, straight out of the Queen’s handbook, is stark.”

Enough? Nah. Other royal sources tell the Times Andrew is “a busted flush” with a “toxic” presence.

“No business or brand in the country would touch him,” says another royal source. “He should go and manage one of the royal estates, or do something within the royal set-up that provides him with an entirely private role. He has to come to terms with a position as a private member of the royal family and stop trying to get back what he once had. He has to embrace a different role for the rest of his life. That will probably crush him, but he has to come to terms with it.”

So, what can a source described as close to Prince Andrew have to offer against this relentless, character-trampling barrage?

Not much. His U.S. legal team, led by Andrew Brettler, “will be looking to robustly engage and challenge the claims from Mrs Giuffre in an attempt to provide the duke with a platform to finally clear his name,” the source tells the Times. “They will be looking to examine and dismantle the claims one by one. By launching this civil case, Mrs Giuffre has actively invited legal scrutiny of her own version of events. This provides an opportunity for the duke’s team to scrutinize properly the multiple inconsistencies in her narrative that have emerged over the years, and you can expect to see a rigorous defense of all her allegations.”

Whatever happens in the Giuffre case, Andrew has never looked as reviled and isolated within his own family—and according to the Sunday Times he only has himself to blame.

As if the news of how much his family and courtiers would dearly like to never have to see or think about him again didn’t make worrying enough reading for the beleaguered prince, now comes news that British police have questioned Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a dramatic development which could ultimately lead to a criminal investigation into her claims being opened in the U.K.

The Sunday Times reports that London’s Metropolitan Police contacted Giuffre after she filed her civil lawsuit against Andrew, because in that suit she claimed that on one occasion she was raped by Andrew at Ghislaine Maxwell’s Mayfair home. It is here, of course, that the notorious photograph of Andrew with his hand around Giuffre’s waist was taken.

Virginia Roberts, as she was then known, was 17 at the time and the age of consent in the U.K. is 16. But she alleges that she was trafficked to London by Jeffrey Epstein and forced to have sex with Andrew. Andrew has denied any wrongdoing, said he has “no recollection” of even meeting her and strongly implied the photograph is a fake.

Dame Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan Police, when asked about Andrew’s case earlier in the year said: “As a result of what’s going on, I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material…No one is above the law.” (Dick herself facing calls to quit her job, in the wake of Sarah Everard's murder by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.)

British police have scoped Giuffre’s allegations before but always concluded it was a matter for U.S. authorities.

Giuffre’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, told the Sunday Times: “Given the clear and compelling evidence implicating Prince Andrew, the Metropolitan Police should reopen its investigation and stand by their statement that no one is above the law.”

Let’s not forget that Prince Andrew is not the only member of the royal family to be in a spot of bother these days.

Prince Charles’ key aide Michael Fawcett nobly fell on his sword in the cash-for-honors scandal, after it emerged that he had helped arrange an honor for a Saudi businessman, Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz. Mahfouz was awarded a CBE after having coincidentally happened to have donated £1.5m to pet projects of the prince. Charles bestowed the honor in person, yet denies any wrongdoing in the affair.

Now, the Mail on Sunday reports, Fawcett “will this week be accused of keeping the ethics committee at Charles's charity 'in the dark' about multi-million-pound fundraising activities.”

The paper says the accusation will be made by an “independent inquiry” that was ordered up by Prince’s Foundation.

The straws in the wind are not looking good for Fawcett, with a source telling the paper he was “operating behind the backs of the board. It was very much outside their knowledge.”

The source adds: “I’m sure the Prince of Wales didn’t even know what was going on. Even the letters he signed would have been written by Michael.”

How very convenient for everyone involved—except Fawcett.

There were great hopes this summer that the unveiling of a statue to honor their mother would bring William and Harry together.

Instead, the event will mainly be remembered for the awkward interaction of the brothers.

The event had originally been intended to be a big affair. However, due to Covid numbers were cut back to a bare minimum of Spencer family members. A bigger party, it was said, would be held later in the year to invite everyone who couldn’t make it first time round.

Now that coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, the party for around 100 people is due to take place next week. Only one problem: Harry isn’t coming, and nor are his wife and kids, the Telegraph reports, on the basis of communications with Harry’s press secretary.

Without the excuse of coronavirus restrictions to hide behind, the depth of the estrangement between Harry and the other royals will only become more stark as events like this are simply missed.

Meanwhile, at Sussex Towers in Montecito, the family are reportedly living in harmony. Us Weekly reports that Archie, has “a lovable and sweet nature” and is “coming into his own” as a big brother to Lili.

“The Sussexes do have nannies to call on when their schedules get crazed, but they’re still extremely hands-on and try to keep the hired help to a minimum for the most part,” an ‘insider’ told the outlet: “It’s been easier for them with Lili in many ways, even though it’s twice the work, technically, because they’ve been able to use a lot of the techniques they learned with Archie and take care of things like feeding or bathing without too much fuss.”

Prince Harry is “the most caring dad,” and raising his children is “just paradise for Harry,” the magazine says.

Some happier memories for Prince Andrew... Daughter Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank celebrate their third wedding anniversary on Oct. 12. Ex-wife Sarah Ferguson—who Andrew remains very close to, and whom the Sunday Times reports he may eventually remarry, turns 62 on Oct. 15.

Can Andrew ever recover any supportive capital within the royal family? If not, what does his future hold?

Met police drop investigation into Prince Andrew in Virginia Giuffre case

The Guardian 11 October, 2021 - 08:20am

Met officers made the decision to drop their investigation on Sunday, after reviewing several documents, including one relating to an ongoing US civil lawsuit concerning Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was 17 years old.

In an interview in August, after Giuffre filed the lawsuit, the Met commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said “no one is above the law” and that she had “asked my team to have another look at the material”.

The Sunday Times reported that Met officers had since questioned Giuffre, who now lives in Australia, about the allegations. It said it was unclear whether they had taken a formal statement from her.

The Met said while its review is “complete”, it will continue to “liaise with other law enforcement agencies who lead the investigation into matters related to Jeffrey Epstein”.

The lawsuit accuses Andrew of sexually abusing Giuffre at the home of the socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in London and at properties owned by Epstein, the disgraced financier who died in prison in 2019 while facing charges of sex trafficking.

The prince has “absolutely and categorically” denied having sex with Giuffre and Buckingham Palace has called the claims “false and without foundation”.

Dick said in August that there had already been two previous reviews of the case. She said matters for consideration included whether there was evidence of a crime and whether the UK was the right jurisdiction for the case to be dealt with.

A now notorious photo of Andrew with an arm around Giuffre’s waist is said to have been taken by Epstein at the home of his friend Maxwell during a visit to London in 2001, when Giuffre was about 17. Sources said to be close to the prince have suggested the photo was faked – a claim vehemently denied by his accuser – while Andrew has said he has “no recollection” of meeting her.

Giuffre’s US lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, told the Sunday Times: “Given the clear and compelling evidence implicating Prince Andrew, the Metropolitan police should reopen its investigation and stand by their statement that no one is above the law.”

In a statement a Met spokesperson said: “We would not confirm who we may or may not have spoken to.”

Giuffre claims in the lawsuit that she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein, a registered sex offender, including when she was a minor under US law. The prince faces a deadline of 29 October to formally respond to the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

In August it was reported that Andrew was considered a “person of interest” in the investigation into Epstein and Maxwell.

The phrase “person of interest” is used by law enforcement to refer to someone who has not been arrested or formally accused of any crime, but can refer to someone who may have information that would assist the investigation.

Maxwell, who is facing trial in New York in November, has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges regarding her alleged involvement with Epstein.

Andrew, 61, stepped back from royal duties in 2019 in the aftermath of a disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis for BBC’s Newsnight. He told Maitlis that he could not have had sex with Giuffre at Maxwell’s London home on the date in question because he was at home after attending a children’s party at Pizza Express in Woking.

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