Prince Andrew may not have enough money to challenge his deal with Virginia Giuffre and friends of the Duke have warned that his strategy to clear his name is “high risk”.
Sources close to Andrew say he risks going down a “lonely road of more legal bills” as he tries to overturn a multi-million pound settlement with a woman who accused him of sexual assault Was and was even forced to apologise.
“If he does launch the bid, he is looking at racking up more bills which could push him into debt. It is a question of whether he has the funds to do so,” a source told Independent.
He added: “The fear is that it could be very expensive and leave him in a money pit.
“It is a high-risk strategy to go from payout to seven-figure sum in a complex legal battle. The family is worried whether there might be enough money for this.
In January last year, after the Duke was accused of sexual assault by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, he stopped using his HRH title.
Ms Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 by jailed financier and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
He has vehemently denied these claims.
In February, the prince reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre worth around £3m, which included donations to her charity “in support of the rights of victims”. He made no admission of liability.
Andrew’s team, led by US attorney Andrew Brettler, is now considering legal options following Ms Giuffre’s sexual assault case against high-profile US lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
video of the day
Sources close to Andrew say he hopes overturning Ms Giuffre’s claim could allow him to return to royal duties, but US law gives the prince legal powers to overturn the deal, including through mistake or accident. The reasons would need to be debated.
Independent Revealed those close to the Duke fear he is becoming a recluse as he plans his return and remains “in a bubble” desperately trying to hold onto a place in the Royal Family.
“He’s desperate for rehabilitation, but he doesn’t understand the humility and penance he needs to show after the case,” the source said.
“He is trapped inside this bubble of wanting to have a role in the royal family when he has no one else.”
However, it is understood that due to the terms of the Duke’s agreement with Ms Giuffre, he is not able to reach a settlement until after February.
Maxwell, who was convicted of sex trafficking, said the famous photograph showing the Duke next to Virginia Giuffre is a fake.
Maxwell has previously cast doubt on the authenticity of the photograph, said to have been taken inside the Mayfair home, showing Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre, with Maxwell in the background.
Speaking to CBS this week, the convicted sex offender said Ms Giuffre’s claims were baseless, and that she had not introduced her “dear friend” Andrew to the teenager.
In an interview with Talk TV that aired on Monday evening, Maxwell said: ‘It’s fake. I don’t believe this is real for one second, in fact I am sure it is not. She added: “Well, there’s never been an original, and there’s no further picture, and I’ve only ever seen a photocopy of it.”
Independent Representatives for Prince Andrew have been contacted for comment.