My in-box has been dinging all day about the latest news in the legal battle between Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Prince Andrew.
Judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled that the prince does not have grounds to get the case dismissed, which means the battle is now set to go ahead in New York’s Southern District. David Boies, the lawyer for Giuffre, emailed me that “the parties have agreed that he will be deposed in London and she will be deposed in Australia. She will testify live at trial. It will be up to him and the judge whether he comes to trial. He should come for his own sake. If he doesn’t, it will be up to the Court whether to compel him to come—in civil cases, sometimes courts do, sometimes courts don’t.”
Most people are focused on the sexual allegations that Giuffre has made in this case—and, rightly so. Giuffre—who was introduced to the prince in 2001 when she was just 17—alleges that the prince had unwanted sex with her three times: first, on the night they met in London, when that now-infamous photo was taken, and then at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse and on Epstein’s private island in Little St. John. (Prince Andrew has denied meeting or having sex with Giuffre.)
Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo | Getty
Now it’s no secret that Prince Andrew was partial to pretty women. “Randy Andy” was a much-remembered headline of my childhood growing up in Britain.
But there is another reason, according to my reporting, that explains why Prince Andrew was enamored of the world of not just Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell but of Donald Trump, whom he met around the 2000s, according to my sources, and was wildly impressed by. “Andrew raved about Mar-a-Lago,” says one person who has dinner with him often.
The reason is: Money.
I’ve spoken to several close friends of Prince Andrew during my reporting, and they’ve shared some interesting background.
The fact that Prince Andrew’s former wife, Sarah Ferguson, got into debt and once even had Epstein pay a former employee she owed money to, is no secret. It was widely reported in 2011.
What’s less well known is that the prince himself wanted to make money and saw Epstein—and Trump—as possible tickets to a successful career, according to my sources.
“He viewed himself as someone slightly apart from the royal family, someone a bit bolder, someone who was a dealmaker,” says a close friend of Prince Andrew’s.
In fact, according to someone with direct knowledge, around 2000, Prince Andrew even hosted a group of the prize-winning scientists he had met through Epstein at Buckingham Palace, and, according to someone there, he told the group that he would have like to have been a scientist had he not been born into the British royal family.
In the early 2000s, Prince Andrew also reportedly told people I’ve spoken to that he was excited to hang out with Donald Trump and Epstein. He appeared to believe that he was now moving in circles of high finance, which is where he said he wanted to be.
Remember, that in 2001, the prince was appointed "special representative" for Trade and Investment, supposedly to promote British interests abroad, but the British media criticized his judgement. According to the BBC in 2011:
The prince's judgement has…been questioned for holding meetings with Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif, and for entertaining the son-in-law of Tunisia's ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at Buckingham Palace.
The prince's relations with Timor Kulibayev, the son-in-law of the President of Kazakhstan, have also previously been questioned. Mr. Kulibayev purchased the duke's Sunninghill Park home for £3m more than its £12m asking price in 2007.
The reality was the prince didn’t live as grandly as some might expect—and he frequently mentioned to his friends he’d like to make more money.
A friend who had dinner with Prince Andrew regularly says that those dinners were “fairly modest.” The prince never ate out, says this person; instead, the dinners were “always at home.”
“Home” has varied for the prince over the years. He has had dinner at his private quarters in Buckingham Palace, but more recently it’s been at Royal Lodge, the home in the Windsor Castle grounds bestowed upon him by the Queen.
According to my source, neither the homes or the dinners—sometimes for 8-10 people—are especially grand: “It’s buffet-style and he has one person—a butler-type—cleaning up.”
During the course of my reporting, I learned that while Epstein was alive, he told people all sorts of astonishing things about how “useful” the prince was him financially; at one point, someone told me “he [Epstein] manages the Queen’s money.” None these things have ever been substantiated, however—and I know all too well how big a liar Epstein was.
I also know how much of a manipulator Epstein was.
Somebody else I know remembered meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre at a dinner held in the prince’s honor in New York. This person was irritated to sit next to Giuffre because she was so much younger than everyone else present, and it was clear to my source that she’d been asked to attend as a perk for someone on Epstein’s “staff.” This person remembers her as being mousey and shy and slightly overwhelmed.
Well, mousey and shy young teenagers turn into lionesses that roar. Virginia Roberts Giuffre is no longer overwhelmed. And no one, surely, realizes that more right now than Prince Andrew.