PRINCE Andrew was last night rocked by claims he could be stripped of his Duke of York title if he loses a lawsuit brought by sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre.
Royal courtiers were reported to have discussed plans to send him into “internal exile” — including stopping him using his title and other options, such as giving up all his charity links.
Ms Giuffre alleges that he sexually assaulted her three times when she was 17, which the Prince denies, and is suing for unspecified damages.
One source told The Sunday Times: “If he loses the case, the question is what do you do with him? You can’t make him resign like you would a normal person but he would be asked to put his dukedom into abeyance.”
They reported that royal insiders said it would be difficult to persuade the Queen to take away the title of Duke of York as “it was held by her father, George VI, before he became king and she bestowed it on her favourite son. But he has disgraced that title”.
The claim came as the Duke, 61, faced a “critical” 48 hours to get his accuser’s case against him thrown out.
High-powered lawyers for him and Virginia, 38, will go head-to-head at a video conference hearing in New York on Tuesday to decide the future of her lawsuit.
Andrew is desperate to avoid a civil trial against Virginia — who, it emerged yesterday, could face his disgraced pal Ghislaine Maxwell in court at her sentencing.
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Maxwell was last week convicted at her sex trafficking trial of grooming girls for her paedophile billionaire ex-lover Jeffrey Epstein.
Virginia’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, signalled yesterday that her client could give a victim impact statement before Maxwell finds out the precise extent of her fate.
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Insiders revealed Prince Andrew was confident he could get the US case dismissed.
It comes amid claims that he acted with “impunity” as a member of the Royal Family, rejecting advice from anyone who questioned him about Epstein by saying: “F*** off out of my office”.
But sources told The Sun on Sunday Andrew is prepared to acknowledge the “pain” suffered by victims of Maxwell and Epstein, by making a public statement if he clears his own name.
It earlier emerged his lawyers said they had no documentary evidence to prove his claims he had a condition preventing him sweating.
Ms Giuffre said in a 2019 interview that the prince was “sweating all over me” at a club on a night she alleges they had sex.
One source said last night: “The next 48 hours are absolutely critical for Andrew and the Royal Family. If he could get the Virginia lawsuit thrown out before it goes to trial, it would be a huge win.
“He is confident, but the people around him are realistic — they know that he faces an uphill task.
“Some judges’ decisions in the case have already gone against him.
“Once he has cleared his name, Andrew is likely to acknowledge the pain that victims of Maxwell and Epstein have gone through.”
A secret agreement between Virginia and Epstein — which Andrew hopes will help get her lawsuit thrown out — will be unsealed and made public tomorrow.
The royal argues a clause in the 2009 settlement precludes him from being sued by Virginia.
But her lawyers maintain the agreement has no relevance to him.
On Friday, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan denied Prince Andrew’s bid to halt the potentially embarrassing “discovery” process in the lawsuit against him.
It has already seen his lawyers forced to reveal there were no witnesses to corroborate his mocked claim that he was at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, on a night he allegedly slept with Virginia.
They also said he had no documents regarding the “peculiar medical condition” that prevented him from sweating, which he stated in his “car crash” BBC Newsnight interview in November 2019.
His lawyers argued the discovery process should be stopped while they quiz Virginia under oath to examine if the mum of three – who lives in Australia – was “domiciled” in the US as she claimed.
They argued that if they could prove she was not, a New York court would not be the correct jurisdiction for the case.
Their bid was halted two days after Andrew’s university pal Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of five of six charges.
The English heiress is now facing up to 65 years in jail.
Virginia did not give evidence in court but her name was mentioned nearly 250 times.
Her testimony about being groomed by Maxwell was used for one of the charges.
Epstein and Maxwell were at the Queen’s “Dance of the Decades” party in 2000 at Windsor Castle and pictured visiting Sandringham in December that year.
Andrew kept his friendship going with Epstein for a decade and was snapped chatting to him in 2010, after the tycoon’s release from jail.
The Duke insisted he had been breaking off his relationship with Epstein during that visit.
His friendship with Maxwell continued for another decade.
Epstein killed himself in jail in 2019 aged 66.
Our source added: “Andrew can deny that he was good friends with Epstein — but there’s no denying it with Maxwell. And now she’s a convicted sex trafficker.”
On claims that the Duke may lose his title, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “This is speculation and the comments are without foundation. We would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.”
Andrew’s legal team declined to comment.
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