Prince Andrew’s court drama may damage Queen’s Royal Jubilee, fears royal expert

The Queen's platinum jubilee is due to be dogged by her son Prince Andrew's court drama, in what a royal expert has described as "grim news" for Buckingham Palace.

Documents that have been lodged in New York show the civil case of rape and sexual assault being brought against him by Jeffrey Epstein's victim as fast as possible.

Judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled that all disclosures and depositions should be completed before July next year, with the agreement of both parties.

This means that key moments in the case will be heard in the lead-up to the national celebrations that mark the Monarch's 70 years on the throne.

Richard Fitzwilliams, royal commentator, said that this will mean a "cloud" will be cast over the festivities.

Mr Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: "The news that the court case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Prince Andrew will be heard in the run-up to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations is grim news for the Palace.

"It means that speculation which is certain to be sensational is likely to make headline news over the coming months.

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"It is unclear if the disclosure of the 2009 settlement agreement between the deceased paedophile Epstein and Virginia Roberts, to which his lawyers have recently been given access, will be helpful to his case.

"If Prince Andrew were required to answer questions put to him by her lawyers, he could exercise his right to be silent, or he could claim the request should be set aside as he has no evidence which is material to offer."

The latest court document shows that Judge Kaplan intends to wrap up any amendments to the New York proceedings by December 15. Prince Andrew has categorically denied the allegations against him.

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One US legal expert reportedly described the scheduling as "brisk".

Mr Fitzwilliams said that Andrew has "strongly denied the charges and undoubtedly believes that if he can discredit his accuser, some of whose statements have appeared contradictory, this would be a route back for him to salvage his reputation".

The royal expert says it is unclear what will happen in the coming months but says the publicity accompanying it "will undoubtedly be deeply damaging to the royal family".

Buckingham Palace has been contacted for comment.

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