A nervous wait for Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew

Princess Beatrice is braced to be dragged into her father’s sexual abuse case.

The 33-year-old has emerged as a key witness, as the Duke of York alleges he was with his daughter at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night at the centre of the claims against him.

Lawyers for the Prince Andrew’s accuser, Virginia Giuffre, have disclosed that they plan to seek depositions from two British witnesses, who are “close to Andrew [and] who would have knowledge of his actions”. Last night, both sides’ lawyers were preparing to release their lists of potential witnesses.

Princess Beatrice is the daughter of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.Credit:AP

The disclosure that another member of the Royal family is set to become embroiled in the case came just a day after the Queen stripped her second son of all military titles and patronages. He can also no longer use the style of His Royal Highness in any official capacity.

The Duke’s attempt to have the case dismissed on a technicality was thwarted by a New York judge this week, leaving him facing a civil trial by jury.

Giuffre, 38, who claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke on three separate occasions when she was 17, insisted that he “must be held accountable” for his actions as she welcomed the court ruling and the chance to “expose the truth”.

Britain’s Princess Beatrice with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.Credit:PA via AP

Andrew has denied all her claims.

The prospect of his closest family members having to face questioning from Giuffre’s formidable legal team is an uncomfortable one for Andrew.

David Boies, Giuffre’s lawyer, has already indicated that those he would seek to question in the Duke’s case “might include his ex-wife” and could even include his brother, the Prince Charles.

Sarah, Duchess of York, has been one of Prince Andrew’s lone defenders in recent years, repeatedly voicing her loyalty and respect for him in public.

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, while both shaken by the case, have also privately supported their father.

They would be asked to corroborate the Duke’s Pizza Express alibi, as well as his claim that he could not sweat, both made in the Newsnight interview in 2019. However, there have been claims that Princess Beatrice has “absolutely no recollection” of the Pizza Express occasion.

Meanwhile, both sides have agreed a draft protective order outlining which documents and sensitive information obtained in the discovery process will remain secret. They include medical records, phone numbers, tax returns, banking information and the names of alleged underage victims of sexual abuse. Portions of deposition transcripts can also be designated confidential.

Prince Andrew, left, and his daughter Princess Beatrice at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.Credit:AP

A source close to Andrew has insisted that he would “continue to defend himself” against the allegations, describing the process as “a marathon, not a sprint”. However, the legal situation is understood to remain “fluid” and the option of a hefty financial settlement remains on the table.

Crisis talks have begun in earnest to determine the specific terms of a potential deal, which Andrew would want to be signed off before his deposition, tentatively scheduled for next month.

Boies has indicated that a public apology would have to form the plank of any agreement, but for Andrew, who has denied the claims, any acceptance of liability is off the table.

Although he is now defending the case as a “private citizen”, the monarch would have to sanction such a significant legal move. A public statement would likely point to the global publicity the case had generated and the ensuing negative effect on the institution.

Telegraph, London

Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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