Prince Andrew’s civil suit, stemming from the royal's alleged friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and brought by Virginia Giuffre, who accuses Andrew of sexual impropriety when she was 17 years old, has already had major repercussions for the royal family. Prince Charles and Prince William are reportedly united in their decision to keep Andrew from rejoining his royal duties, and simultaneously worried about how the case will affect the Queen. It’s also impacting the royals’ image with the public, demonstrated by the anonymous woman bashing on Prince Andrew’s window just last week, and the phrase “Abolish the Monarchy” trending on Twitter in the wake of news of the suit.
Now, another pending decision in the case could create even bigger rifts within the Firm. According to the Daily Beast, Meghan Markle could be asked to testify against Prince Andrew as a witness in the suit. The case was brought in the U.S., and David Boies, Giuffre’s attorney, told the publication that this could make Meghan a good subject for a subpoena, which would force her to give a statement for the court.
“One; she is in the U.S. so we have jurisdiction over her. Two; she is somebody who obviously, at least for a period of time, was a close associate of Prince Andrew and hence is in a position to perhaps have seen what he did, and perhaps if not to have seen what he did to have heard people talk about it. Because of her past association with him, she may very well have important knowledge, and will certainly have some knowledge. Three; she is somebody who we can count on to tell the truth. She checks all three boxes.”
Boies also indicated that while Sarah Ferguson, Andrew’s ex-wife, as well as their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, would be targets for subpoenas, getting jurisdiction over them as U.K. citizens presents additional challenges. “We would likely take one or two depositions of people close to Andrew who would have knowledge of his actions. That might include his ex-wife. It could possibly be his brother,” he said.
However, when asked if he would depose Andrew’s mother—that is, Queen Elizabeth II—Boies declined. He cited “respect and deference” as well as her age as reasons not to pursue a deposition, and added, “I don’t think she is going to have any knowledge that other people don’t have. I think that he is unlikely to have spoken as freely to his mother about some of this stuff as he might have to his contemporaries, or his ex-wife.”
Giuffre’s suit must survive a pending motion to dismiss from Prince Andrew’s team on January 4th for the case to move forward, but the threat of a deposition could create a kind of no-win situation for all involved.
We will update as more information becomes available.
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