“This is all happening behind palace walls, so we won’t get to know the ins-and-outs of it,” Nigel speculates.
A crisis team of “advisors” is likely to be guiding the royals on how to navigate the situation and avoid further reputation damage – but Nigel notes that Prince Andrew has infamously gone rogue before.
“Obviously, he did that TV interview last year against everyone’s advice, including Ghislaine Maxwell’s,” he says.
Nigel believes the royal family are also employing their own crisis management strategy. “[They] are plainly trying to distance themselves from [Prince Andrew],” says the author.
“Obviously it doesn’t reflect well on the royal family, whatever the outcome. But they’ve weathered many storms in the past.”
Maxwell, 58, now faces trial over her alleged involvement in procuring and grooming under-age women for sexual relationships with Epstein and his high-powered associates. Both she and Andrew have consistently denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
There’s a chance Andrew will be called on as a witness at Maxwell’s trial – and the royal author is adamant the prince “has to do something”.
“He can’t just hide behind the palace walls forever,” says Nigel.
“He has a very tough decision to make whether to turn up there and face interrogation by a slick New York prosecutor, who’s not going to give him an easy time,” says Nigel.
“And if he doesn’t go, then I don’t know how he can hold his head up in public again.
“But I do think that he’ll have to compromise with the US authorities to some extent and give some sort of deposition – but it will probably be from here [in the UK] and not require travelling to the US.”
One issue that is speculated to be holding the prince back is the rumoured existence of secret video security footage from Epstein’s residences. If these videos exist, they could place Prince Andrew in the same vicinity of his accusers, such as Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
“If this footage exists, it would now be in the hands of the FBI and there’s nothing Buckingham Palace could do about it,” says Nigel.
If such damning evidence exists, it would undoubtedly ruin Prince Andrew. “[The prince] hasn’t been charged with anything at the moment,” states Nigel. “But I will say that the evidence against him is pretty strong.
“He has known Epstein and Maxwell for many years, so it’s very difficult to say how he wouldn’t have known what was happening in that situation,” adds Nigel.
“There have been several calls, including from me, that if what Ms Giuffre says is true, that she was trafficked over to this country [the UK] to have sex with [Prince Andrew], that is an offence under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act,” explains Nigel.
“It must be embarrassing, socially at the very least,” Nigel says.
The author also weighed in on Epstein’s unexpected death while in prison and Maxwell’s fate.
“We all have our suspicions ... so there has to be worries. I mean, that would really be a scandal, because one would assume that someone had taken action against her.”
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