January 14, 2022 - 2:23pm

Yesterday Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages were returned to the Queen, and he will stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity. Citizen Andrew, who retains the title of Prince, is now preparing to fight a sexual assault civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre.

Giuffre, introduced to the Prince in 2001 when she was 17, alleges that Andrew had unwanted sex with her on three occasions. First on the night they met in London, then at millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse and on Epstein’s private island in Little St. John.

Andrew has denied ever meeting or having sex with Giuffre.

Speculation about Andrew’s friendship with Epstein usually boils down to two factors: women and money. Jeffrey Epstein’s world was full of both. According to Vicky Ward, who has covered Epstein for decades, it was the financier’s riches that caught Andrew in his web. On her Substack she reports:

… the prince himself wanted to make money and saw Epstein… as possible tickets to a successful career, according to my sources. “He viewed himself as someone slightly apart from the royal family, someone a bit bolder, someone who was a dealmaker,” says a close friend of Prince Andrew’s… In the early 2000s, Prince Andrew also reportedly told people I’ve spoken to that he was excited to hang out with Donald Trump and Epstein. He appeared to believe that he was now moving in circles of high finance, which is where he said he wanted to be.
- Vicky Ward

Andrew never lived as grandly as his old titles suggested. His money troubles were legion, and he often had to ask friends to help him out. There was a $30,000 gold and diamond necklace given to his daughter Beatrice in 2009 by a convicted Libyan gun smuggler and a $2 million bank loan reportedly paid off by businessman David Rowland, among other controversial financial dealings.

One deal involved Jeffrey Epstein. In December 2010 Sarah Ferguson — who lived with Andrew at the time — was given ÂŁ15,000 by Epstein to pay off her debts, just 18 months after he was released from jail for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. Later, the Duchess said her judgement was “clouded” by her desperation to get out of her debts. She told the Evening Standard: “I personally, on behalf of myself, deeply regret that Jeffrey Epstein became involved in any way with me.”

But the Andrew-Epstein relationship also worked both ways. Epstein’s former business partner, Steve Hoffenberg, told Vanity Fair, that Prince Andrew was the financier’s “Super Bowl Trophy” and a “business convoy for money”.

Ward reports multiple sources giving a similar impression:

During the course of my reporting, I learned that while Epstein was alive, he told people all sorts of astonishing things about how “useful” the prince was him to financially; at one point, someone told me “he [Epstein] manages the Queen’s money.” None these things have ever been substantiated, however—and I know all too well how big a liar Epstein was.
- Vicky Ward

Whatever the full nature of his dealings with Epstein, Andrew will remain in lengthy and difficult legal proceedings for the foreseeable future.