Queen damaging her image by publicly supporting Prince Andrew, claims expert

Prince Andrew is being sued in a US court by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that he sexually abused her on three separate occasions when she was 17.

Her Majesty the Queen is paying her son’s legal costs because he has "no accessible money" and had allowed him to stay at Balmoral for three weeks which made it more difficult to serve him with legal papers.

But Royal expert Katie Nicholl says that Her Majesty is "damaging her image," particularly in the US, by "so publicly supporting Andrew".

Ms Nicholl, speaking on True Royalty TV's The Royal Beat, says The Duke of York is very short of cash for his legal costs.

"Andrew hasn't got any… accessible money," Ms Nicholl said.

"They've just had to sell their chalet in Verbier. There was a massive mortgage. I don't think there's the money you would associate with a dukedom," she added.

Prince Andrew, who "categorically" denies Ms Giuffre’s claims, has now returned to the 30-room mansion at Royal Lodge in Windsor that he shares with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.

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The duke had spent three weeks at Balmoral, which some observers say was an effort to avoid having legal papers relating to Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit handed to him.

"[Her Majesty] is giving him shelter," Ms Nicholl said.

"She is allowing him at Balmoral and allowing him to sort of hide in her skirts. And I think that is for the Queen's image, particularly in America, it is damaging for her.

"People are concerned that the Queen is so publicly supporting Andrew," she added.

Ms Giuffre also accused billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse but signed a legal settlement deal with the financier in 2009 as part of a Florida state case.

The Duke of York was not mentioned in those papers but US District Judge Loretta Preska granted permission for the Duke of York's lawyers to view the confidential agreement.

Andrew Brettler, one of the lawyers acting for the duke, says that be believes the agreement "absolves our client from any and all liability".

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