This isn’t the first time a family member has been sued, CNN historian and royal expert Kate Williams said. She points out that Prince Charles was sued by a law student in 1978 following an appearance in Ohio. The student sued for alleged deprivation of “various rights guaranteed by the (US) Constitution” (although the case did not progress). And in 2002, Princess Anne became the first member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offense, pleading guilty to one charge when her dog bit two children in a park. But these cases are pale in comparison to the allegations of sexual assault of a minor.
Traditionally, the royal family has adopted the mantra “never complain, never explain”. But this crisis management strategy of silence may not be enough this time around.
Andrew’s options at this point are by no means clear. New York University law professor Melissa Murray says if Andrew’s legal team chooses not to engage in the civil lawsuit, it could expose him to directed judgment and possible damages. financial. “What (Giuffre is looking for) here is not his incarceration, this is not a guilty verdict, this is not a criminal prosecution. It’s just a civil suit for damages.” Murray explains.
Civil cases like these rarely reach the jury stage, Murray says, and are instead resolved by summary judgment or settlement, the latter of which can be a problem for the royal.
“He officially stated that he had nothing to do with her… and so any effort to sort out at this point would appear to be a statement that there is some truth to his allegations,” says Murray.
It should be noted that Andrew has never faced criminal charges. But Murray points out that if the case was allowed to continue, it could open the royal to further scrutiny.
“Allowing that to move forward – having a discovery, taking depositions, surface evidence – means that whatever arises in this civil lawsuit that is made public can then be used as the basis for criminal charges against it. him, or anyone else whose name is revealed in this particular dispute, “she said.” He has a lot of general exposure and things to think about at this point. “
Regardless of how the court case unfolds, there is also the public relations nightmare the family must now navigate, with royal commentators and legal experts suggesting there may not be a turning back for Andrew.
Nigel Cawthorne, author of “Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace”, says the Duke appears to have little recourse to resume public duties. “It is very difficult to see how he can return to the front lines of the monarchy, as he has expressed his wish, with this trial pending or if a court convicts him in absentia.”
Alex McCready, reputation and privacy manager at London-based law firm Vardags, which specializes in handling high-profile client cases, agrees the fallout from the lawsuit could damage the family’s reputation.
“A ‘head in the sand’ approach to the royal family will inevitably attract criticism from many quarters,” she said. “Whichever path Prince Andrew chooses, significant damage has already been done to his own reputation and, arguably, to the royal family at large, which will be difficult to mitigate.”
Hard to recover from it but not impossible, according to Amber Melville-Brown, head of media practice and reputation at international law firm Withers.
“As Prince Charles told broadcaster and author Jeremy Paxman, the Royal Family is, after all, a soap opera. But if it does, the series won’t be deleted anytime soon,” Melville-Brown said. . “The monarchy is more than the sum of its family parts. Despite the reputational damage, this is a series that will not be canceled, even in today’s culture of cancellation.”
She adds, “There is no one ‘secret sauce’ of reputation rehab that suits all tastes. Acceptance, regret, responsibility are some of the ingredients, dignity, empathy and caring. other positivity while continuing to do the job is key. “
And this is where the Queen excels, as everything she has done throughout her long reign has been in the service of her kingdoms.
Despite this crisis, there is no evidence that the reputation of the monarch was further tarnished by the scandal. But in the age of #MeToo and in the midst of a worldwide reckoning on race, authority and privilege, that could change and Andrew will undoubtedly be aware of the importance of his next moves.
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová, Nina dos Santos and Ghazi Balkiz contributed reporting.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Queen Elizabeth II inspects the soldiers of Balaklava Company, 5th Battalion, Royal Scots Regiment, at the gates of Balmoral on Monday. The Shetland pony was also present, Lance Corporal Cruachan IV, the mascot of the royal regiment.
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OF THE ROYAL VAULT
Nestled in the lush Scottish Highlands, Queen’s Balmoral Residence is considered one of her favorite places to relax. This week, the 95-year-old returned to her beloved Aberdeenshire sanctuary for her annual summer getaway.
The property has been in the family since 1852, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought it, but the original castle was actually built in the 15th century. Over generations, monarchs are said to have found “peace and quiet” in the 50,000-acre estate.
Balmoral is a private residence owned by the family, rather than one of the royal palaces belonging to the domain of the Crown. “It is the most beautiful place on earth. I think Grandma is the happiest there,” Princess Eugenie said in the ITV documentary “Our Queen at Ninety”.
When asked why, the princess replied, “Walks, picnics, dogs – lots of dogs, there are always dogs – and people coming in and out all the time.
The family clearly appreciates the freedom to be outside without the spotlight. Other royal activities in years past included games and outdoor grilling sessions, with Prince Harry hailing the late Duke of Edinburgh as ‘master of the barbecue’.
Some royals are also known to enjoy grouse shooting on the local moors while many have joined spectators at the Braemar Highlands Games, a competitive event that features Scottish athletes and musicians – sadly canceled again this year due to the pandemic.
The Princess Royal, who is president of the British Olympic Association, wrote a moving message celebrating the team’s achievements at this year’s Games. The GB team won 65 medals in total, placing them 4th in the overall Olympic medal standings.
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