The Duke of York has to do his Princely Sums

The commentaries on the Duke of York’s case mostly reflect the stance he seems to have taken, in relation to the allegations of sexual abuse made against him. They and he are misguided. The simple fact is that his position confers no special status on him, whatsoever, as far as either the American, or English courts are concerned.

This means, for example, that he could not avoid service, because courts would make – as one has done – an order for service by some substituted means. His apparent attempts to avoid service were always hopeless and served only to make him look evasive and undignified. It means, also, that this case is likely to be fought with limitless persistence, by the plaintiff and those who support her action, because there is nothing to stop her doing so and every stage in the process provides more publicity and, thus, potentially increases her value as a “celebrity”.

Barring some improbable and unforeseen intervention, the case will be settled, or litigated. It is to be expected that a settlement, buying off the plaintiff, would be exorbitantly costly, as that would limit the stream of publicity, especially if it sought to include her subsequent silence. It would, also, to much of the world, imply guilt. Would other women, even without any foundation, be encouraged by the idea they would have nothing to lose and much to gain, by making similar claims?

If the case is left to go to trial, the Duke must either allow it to take its course, undefended, or defend it. The former course could be disastrous, as an American jury would decide both the issue and the quantum of damages and, when moved by indignation, they show bizarre generosity to aggrieved plaintiffs. Fighting does not necessarily mean the Duke giving evidence, but the case will be hard to win, if he does not. The most obvious policy looks the best – fight the case, give evidence, and win it.

There will be embarrassing aspects, even then, but the real danger is the American jury believing an American woman, in preference to a Royal duke, so finding for her. Fortunately, the plaintiff’s story is self contradictory and she has a history of commercial sexual activity, so it ought to be possible to destroy the allegations. Unfortunately, his public interview on the subject indicates that the Duke is unlikely to be a good witness, however innocent he may be.

The – for the Duke – unhappy reality, that there are no good options, does not mean that there is not a best option. If the claims are false, his best option is to defend the case, as any other defendant would do, full on. Embarrassments will be short lived and he will very probably win it. If they are not, the danger that a trial may make that apparent means that his best option is to settle.

There are press reports of some attempt, by the Duke, to take advantage of an agreement between the plaintiff and the deceased Geoffrey Epstein, precluding the plaintiff from taking her action, which appears to be over optimistic to an English eye, by reason of privity of contract, but American law may differ, of course. We will see, but I doubt it will affect my above observations.

John Beveridge QC

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8 Comments on The Duke of York has to do his Princely Sums

  1. It isn’t about being a royalist or a republican.
    It’s about truth and justice against the power and corruption of people who think they are above the law.
    I believe in the monarchy. But I don’t believe a word Prince Andrew said in that BBC interview and you hardly have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that.

  2. Perhaps he should fight it because of honour. This QC’s dance around the truth is infuriating. Whispers in the ear, bring up doubt,”but the case will be hard to win”..”history of commercial sexual activity” bias..
    If the Duke has balls, then fight the case. She is Australian/American – perhaps that might prejudice the case? Who cares.
    Stand like a man and face God.

    • If it were only as simple as “stand like a man and fear”. Instead, he, as all the rich and famous will be judged in the court of tabloid opinion, where unscrupulous lawyers will stage faux-outrage to whip-up-the-crowd and thereby extract the maximum damages from people who have “the ability to pay.” As an example, Benjamin Crump is making hay from the BLM moment.

  3. If you’re going to hang around with trash like Jeffrey Epstein after he’s been convicted, what does he expect? It’s hard to care what happens to this useless dolt. An American prison cell might be the best place for him.

  4. For those who actually read it, the most persistently “anti-royals” newspaper in Britain is not the woke-republican Guardian, but the supposedly “right-wing” Daily Mail, which has sniped continually against the family, their relatives and friends (“white trash” [Ephraim Hardcastle], above all Andrew’s brother Charles, our future King and one of the most conscientious and upbright public figures in this now decadent country.

  5. Fighting the case would be a huge mistake. American courts are notorious for being bias against foreigners, the idea that a British Prince would have an chance of a fair hearing is absurd. Leave the Americans to their social, cultural and legal descent into chaos and ignore them.

  6. In the reproductions I’ve seen of the notorious photograph, it looks as if the head of the Prince has been superimposed on somebody else’s body. Not only does his hair seem suspiciously straight-edged against the white background, but his head also seems disproportionately large. Given that there’s no other evidence against him but his accuser’s unsupported accusation, one would assume that he’d win the case in a fair trial of the facts: but what are the chances that a man accused by a woman will receive a fair trial?
    In these circumstances, the Prince’s prevarications are all too understandable.

    • There is much to debate and say about the Prince and these accusations, but one aspect that I think has been settled now against doubt is the photo.

      You may not be an expert on photographic analysis, however there is good evidence you can review online of the photograph itself (high resolution scan) and the details of the body, head etc.

      I would further posit that Ghislaine Maxwell could have easily denied the image any hasn’t, the photographer hasn’t denied it being taken and the apartment with other evidence the Prince regularly visited that abode is also not in doubt.
      Crying fake is not a very helpful tactic, whatever you or I may wish to believe about the Duke.

      Personally I am persuaded that he has a case to answer and that the article expresses it very succinctly and sensibly. The duke won’t likely get a very fair hearing in America, if innocent he should fight hard rather than look evasive and shifty.
      Assuming he is not as innocent as he claims, then I would suggest he settles and quickly.