Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in the September 17 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on the royal family, what they are up to in public and what’s happening behind palace walls. Sign up here.
Prince Andrew stands accused by Virginia Roberts Giuffre of sexual assault. She claims it happened in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands, that the prince he knew she was 17 when it started, and that she had been trafficked by the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has consistently denied the claims, telling the BBC in 2019: “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
Giuffre is now suing Andrew in New York. The prince’s lawyer says the case is “baseless, non-viable (and) potentially unlawful.” Andrew’s team says he had not been properly served notice of proceedings despite Guiffre’s side saying papers were served at the prince’s home in Windsor. Andrew’s lawyers also say a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein released the duke from “any and all liability,” though that settlement was and remains sealed.
Where does the case go from here? We asked two respected lawyers in the field who aren’t involved in it: Amber Melville-Brown, head of the media and reputation practice at the international law firm Withers, and Nick Goldstone, head of dispute resolution at Ince.
Is the prince going to be served now?
This week, an English court agreed to serve the papers. Melville-Brown says, “it is a matter for the English court to determine the method of service when serving at the request of a foreign court” and that it can be via email, post or in person.
Once the papers are served, what happens?
Melville-Brown says Andrew would have four options: Ignore the claim; contest it; admit it; or, try to settle it. “None are particularly attractive,” she adds, “although he and his team may consider the first and the last may be the least of a bad lot.”
Goldstone adds it’s a “fairly binary decision” for Prince Andrew’s legal team: Either engage or evade.
Can he engage and defend his position?
Goldstone says Andrew could say to himself, “I’m not going to participate in this process, because it’s outrageous, and I have further nothing to say.” In effect, he would be refusing to submit to the jurisdiction of the court in this case.
“If he wants to engage and go through the process of civil trial,” says Goldstone, “the simplest thing for him to do is to put in an acknowledgement and say to the New York court: ‘Okay, I’m going to defend this, I’m going to fight this.’ But as I understand it, he is under no obligation to respond and sometimes people choose not to respond because of all sorts of different reasons.”
What if he does submit to the jurisdiction of a New York court?
“Then they are going to be fighting a case within the New York court procedural rules,” says Goldstone, “and that brings with it all sorts of consequences, which may be good or may be bad, depending upon the outcome of that procedure. If you win a case, it’s always a good decision. If you lose a case, it’s more often looked upon as a bad decision. If you choose not to engage and submit to the jurisdiction of the New York court, you’ve got to consider what will the New York court do in your absence? Will it proceed in your absence in a detailed way? Will it proceed in your absence in the summary or default way? And what would the consequences be of an outcome that presumably would be negative because you’re not there to defend yourself? And how enforceable would such a final outcome in a New York court be against you wherever? Obviously it will be enforceable in New York, but Prince Andrew isn’t in New York.”
What if he doesn’t submit to the court and the court finds him guilty?
“He could argue that this is not a judgment that should be enforceable against him,” Goldstone says, noting that Andrew has not participated in the New York court’s proceedings or recognized its jurisdiction to date. The prince may therefore argue that a ruling by the court “shouldn’t be enforced against him because it’s not a claim that could be advanced in England,” which doesn’t have an equivalent to New York’s Child Victims Act, says Goldstone. “And therefore, as a matter of public policy, English courts shouldn’t recognize a judgment that has been obtained in a foreign court.”
Will he be forced to appear in court?
Goldstone: “I believe if he chooses not to engage in, not to submit to the jurisdiction, there is no prospect of him being called to the US … or being deposed or providing evidence or witness testimony in proceedings that he’s not engaged in, that is not recognized. On the other hand, if he does engage, there’s every prospect.”
Prince Andrew has already spoken to the media about these allegations, and it famously backfired, resulting in his having to step back from royal duties. It’s hard to imagine him rushing to go back on the record, especially in court. The negative headlines will keep coming while the case is unresolved, and that must concern the palace communications teams responsible for managing the reputation of the wider monarchy – of which Prince Andrew is still part.
CHARLES’ CHARITY DRAMA
The chairman of Prince Charles’ charitable foundation has resigned, days after a Scottish regulator said it was probing fresh “cash for access” allegations reported by a UK newspaper. The Sunday Times reported that the heir to the throne wrote a thank you letter to Russian banker Dmitry Leus and offered to meet him in person after receiving a six-figure donation to The Prince’s Foundation in May 2020. Leus, who is reportedly seeking British citizenship, made his donation after a fixer promised a private meeting with Prince Charles at a Scottish castle, the Sunday Times reported. The newspaper said there was no evidence that Prince Charles was aware of any deception around the donation.
Foundation chair Douglas Connell said he was “shocked and dismayed by newspaper reports that rogue activity of various kinds may have taken place within and outside the Prince’s Foundation.” Explaining why he was choosing to relinquish his role, he continued: “My view is that the person chairing any organisation should take responsibility if it appears that serious misconduct may have taken place within it.” A Clarence House spokesperson told CNN that Charles “has no knowledge of the alleged offer of honors or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the investigation now underway by The Prince’s Foundation.” The Prince’s Foundation is an umbrella organization for several of Charles’ charitable projects.
Connell’s departure comes a week after the head of The Prince’s Foundation temporarily stepped down amid claims of misconduct reported by the same newspaper. Michael Fawcett, Charles’ longest-serving and closest aide, was accused of using his position and influence to help a Saudi businessman obtain an honorary title in exchange for donations.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
William announces the finalists of his inaugural environment award.
The Duke of Cambridge spoke of his honor at introducing “the 15 innovators, leaders, and visionaries who are the first ever Finalists for The Earthshot Prize” on Friday. Whittled down from 750 nominations, the shortlist includes leaders, activists and even an entire country – check out the full list here. “They are working with the urgency required in this decisive decade for life on Earth and will inspire all of us with their optimism in our ability to rise to the greatest challenges in human history,” William said. The duke has also written about why he co-founded the environmental award last October in the introduction to a new book named “Earthshot: How to Save our Planet.” The prize “aims to inspire collective action around our unique ability to innovate, problem solve and ultimately repair our planet.” It is focused on five so-called Earthshots: Protect and Restore Nature; Clean our Air; Revive our Oceans; Build a Waste-free World; and Fix our Climate. The five winners, who will each receive £1 million ($1.4 million) in prize money, will be announced on October 17 during an award ceremony broadcast on the BBC and Discovery.
UK police will not launch a probe into Martin Bashir’s 1995 Diana interview.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service will not be opening a criminal investigation into a former BBC journalist’s controversial interview with the late Princess of Wales, broadcast in 1995, it announced this week. The BBC was forced to issue an apology in May after an independent report conducted by retired High Court judge Lord Dyson found Martin Bashir used “deceitful” tactics to secure the landmark sit-down interview more than two decades ago. The force said in a statement sent to CNN on Thursday that it had “not identified evidence of activity that constituted a criminal offence and will therefore be taking no further action” after scrutinizing Dyson’s report. The Met said it had come to its decision after “specialist detectives assessed (the report’s) contents and looked carefully at the law – once again obtaining independent legal advice from Treasury Counsel as well as consulting the Crown Prosecution Service.”
The Sussexes are cover stars.
Time magazine named Harry and Meghan “icons” in its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people, with the couple appearing on one of the multiple covers of Time’s annual special issue. In the magazine, José Andrés, a chef who founded a nonprofit that provides meals to those in need in the wake of natural disasters, described Harry and Meghan as having “compassion for the people they don’t know.” They “take risks to help communities in need” by “offering mental health support to Black women and girls in the US, and feeding those affected by natural disasters in India and the Caribbean,” he added. Read the full story here.
Harry joins first lady Jill Biden at a veterans’ event.
Prince Harry co-hosted a virtual event Monday in honor of athletes taking part in the Warrior Games, an annual event run by the US Department of Defense that “celebrates the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran U.S. military Service members.” Harry had planned to attend the 2021 Warrior Games in Orlando, Florida, but the event was canceled due to concerns over Covid-19. The event is closely linked to the Invictus Games, an international sporting event that Harry founded for service members and veterans.
Philip’s will to remain secret for 90 years.
The will of Queen Elizabeth’s late husband, Prince Philip, will be sealed and remain private for at least 90 years to preserve the monarch’s dignity, Reuters reports, after a ruling at London’s High Court. “The degree of publicity that publication would be likely to attract would be very extensive and wholly contrary to the aim of maintaining the dignity of the Sovereign,” judge Andrew McFarlane said in a ruling published on Thursday, according to Reuters. Philip died in April aged 99.
FROM THE ROYAL VAULT
The Queen marked the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a heartfelt message to the victims of the terror attacks as well as to their families and the United States as a whole.
In a message to US President Joe Biden, the Queen said: “My thoughts and prayers – and those of my family and the entire nation – remain with the victims, survivors and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.”
The 95-year-old monarch recalled visiting the World Trade Center site in July 2010, saying the occasion “is held fast in my memory.”
“It reminds me that as we honour those from many nations, faiths and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild,” she added.
Naomi Campbell joins forces with Queen’s charity.
International supermodel Naomi Campbell was named as a global ambassador for the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) at an event in London on Thursday evening as it prepares to mark the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee next year. The charity – which was established in 2018 – supports young people who are bringing about sustainable change in their communities. It recently launched the QCT Platinum Jubilee Fund for Young Leaders, aimed at helping 18- to 35-year-old entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth. Prior to their departure as working royals, the Sussexes were heavily involved with the international development charity.
Campbell called her new role as a QCT Platinum Jubilee Global Ambassador a “privilege” in a speech Thursday and spoke of her decades-long passion for elevating future leaders. “Regardless of where you are from or where you are now, there are young leaders within your community doing amazing work. Sometimes they are not seen and some of them may not even see themselves as ‘leaders’ yet, but they all deserve our support, and access to education and resources,” the 51-year-old said. “I have been doing the work with empowering young people for over 25 years. This is something very close to my heart and I will continue to do everything I can to uplift the next generation, so they can create a better future for their communities.”