The Queen is said to be spending millions of pounds to help Prince Andrew fight sex abuse allegations.
Virginia Giuffre, now 38, is suing the Duke of York in New York, claiming he sexually abused her on three separate occasions when she was 17 in London, New York, and on billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s Caribbean island. Andrew, 61, has categorically denied the accusations.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Her Majesty, 95, consented to pay for the duke’s legal defense last year, immediately after his catastrophic interview on BBC.
The duke this week added Melissa Lerner to his American legal team, joining head counsel Andrew Brettler.
Mr Brettler is said to charge the Duke about $2,000 (£1,476) each hour.
The Queen will source funds from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate, the paper reported.
The expense is expected to be in the millions as the civil action against Andrew drags on for months or possibly years, with a potential settlement or damages award costing millions more on top of the entire bill.
In a 2019 interview with the BBC, the Duke of York said he had no recollection of ever meeting Roberts, who is now a 38-year-old mother-of-three living in Australia under her married name, Virginia Giuffre.
However, in a now-famous photograph shot inside Epstein’s purported madam Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home, Andrew is shown smiling for the camera with his arm around Roberts’ waist, as Maxwell stands in the background. Maxwell has stated that she is not a madam.
Lerner, who has previously represented renowned celebrities, sought that she be permitted to defend Andrew by filing a motion for admission, which is a formal request to be someone’s attorney.
In the application, she asks for permission to ‘present as counsel for Defendant Prince Andrew, Duke Of York, a/k/a Andrew Albert Christian Edward.’