The Royal Family, despite fans’ huger for every detail about their lives, has managed to maintain a level of privacy about what goes on behind closed door at its various palaces and country homes.
But now private emails, texts and even confidential medical records could be laid bare as the civil case against Prince Andrew threatens to demolish the “iron curtain of secrecy” which has protected the house of Windsor for decades – at least according royal commentator Daniela Elser.
Even Meghan Markle, a relative newcomer to the royal fold, could be called to testify by David Boies, the New York lawyer who heads Jeffrey Epstein victim Virgina Giuffre’s legal team.
Boies told the Daily Beast last month that Meghan, as a committed feminist and someone who spent some time within Royal Family circles, might be able to help shed some light on things she might have overheard about Andrew and the way the issue is treated within the Palace.
And if that happened, Ms Elser writes: "Given her position as an avowed feminist and royal agitator, the chances of her coming out in support of him has a snowball’s chance on a Montecito summer’s day."
Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and their daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice could also potentially be ordered by the US court to open up their private correspondence in order to confirm Andrew’s whereabouts on the various dates that he is alleged to have abused Ms Giuffre.
In a new column for News.com.au, commentator Daniela Elser writes: “For not only a family but an institution that has long operated under the sort of code of silence that would impress a Sicilian mafia don, the prospect of their daily communications being laid out to not only legal but media and public scrutiny too must be totally horrifying”.
Ms Elser added that if Meghan were to be called to the witness stand it could be devastating not only for Andrew but the entire royal family.
The Duchess of Sussex has never publicly commented on the accusations levelled against her husband’s uncle but, says Ms Elser, “given her position as an avowed feminist and royal agitator” it seems unlikely that she will offer Andrew much support.
Together with intimate revelations about Andrew’s private life gleaned from his emails, texts and other correspondence going back to the time when he was a close friend of Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, the potential for royal embarrassment is huge even if the case against him is ultimately disproven, Ms Elser claims.
Ms Giuffre is suing for battery and for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, saying that she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell and forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17.
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Experts predict that the case could cost the cash-strapped Duke of York up to $6 million (about £4.3 million). He has recently settled a £6.6m debt with a French socialite allowing him to sell a Swiss chalet and establish a legal war chest for what could be a long and costly courtroom battle.
Judge Kaplan, who is set to preside over the case, says he wants both sides’ depositions to be completed by July and wants the case to be ready for trial by July 28, although he does not expect it to start until September.
Prince Andrew has steadfastly denied all of Ms Giuffre's claims. A Buckingham Palace spokesman has declined to comment “on what is an ongoing legal matter”.
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