Prince Andrew, the disgraced Duke of York, was named in previously secret court documents related to Jeffrey Epstein that were unsealed late Wednesday.
The revelation doesn’t surprise many royal watchers, but they all agree on one thing – the British royal who was known as Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite son is “done.”
“It could be the final nail in the coffin,” royal expert Ian Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital.
JEFFREY EPSTEIN DOCUMENTS: FIVE REVELATIONS IN GHISLAINE MAXWELL LAWSUIT
Prince Andrew, who stepped back in 2019, has returned to the spotlight. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Epstein, an American financier and convicted sex offender, was found dead behind bars in 2019 at age 66. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan prosecuted Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, 62, for helping recruit his underage victims. She was convicted in 2021 and is serving a 20-year prison term.
Epstein accuser Johanna Sjoberg’s unsealed deposition includes allegations that the royal groped her while she was sitting on his lap with a Prince Andrew puppet from the satirical BBC TV series “Spitting Image.” Pelham Turner noted that Maxwell allegedly “thought it was a great joke.”
The puppet depicted the 63-year-old as a “nymphomaniac.”
Puppets of members of the royal family, from left, the former Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Queen Elizabeth II, for the Central Television satirical series “Spitting Image.” (PA Images)
“I can see the pun writers of newspapers using ‘Who is the dummy now?’” Pelham Turner added.
Early in the interview, Sjoberg recalled meeting the prince at Epstein’s New York City mansion.
“At one point, Ghislaine told me to come upstairs, and we went into a closet and pulled out the puppet, the caricature of Prince Andrew, and brought it down,” she said. “And there was a little tag on the puppet that said ‘Prince Andrew’ on it, and that’s when I knew who he was.”
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, with a photo of herself as a teen, when she says she was abused by Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew, among others. (Emily Michot/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service)
Then someone took a photo of Sjoberg, as well as Andrew and Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre, with the puppet.
“They put the puppet on Virginia’s lap, and I sat on Andrew’s lap,” Sjoberg said. “And they put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast, and Andrew put his hand on my breast, and they took the photo.”
Buckingham Palace, as well as Andrew’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Prince Andrew is seen leaving the royal family’s traditional Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in eastern England, on Dec. 25, 2023. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)
“Prince Andrew has been neatly detached from the royal family and only allowed into the public domain on rare occasions,” Pelham Turner pointed out. “But I think King Charles will watch how the issue unfolds, although I cannot see any kneejerk reaction or any statement made. The royal family will be consulting their lawyers for rebuffed advice.”
“… No doubt everybody will be searching for that photograph,” Pelham Turner warned. “If it has been released, then this could set… [a] PR tsunami… [a] potentially demanding exile for an extended period.”
Andrew stepped back from royal duties in 2019 amid his controversial connection to Epstein. He was also stripped of his honorary military titles. Before her death in 2022, the queen also removed his honorary leadership of various charities, known as royal patronages, and barred him from using the title “his royal highness” in official settings.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Prince Andrew’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died in 2022 at age 96. She was England’s longest-reigning monarch. (Max Mumby/Indigo)
The council in the northern city of York voted unanimously to withdraw the prince’s “freedom of the city.” The honor was awarded to Andrew in 1987 after the queen made him the Duke of York. He is the first person to be stripped of the status, an honor that dates back to medieval times. Local leaders have since argued that Andrew should also lose the title of Duke of York. A spokesperson for Andrew declined to comment at the time.
Jeffrey Epstein with Ghislaine Maxwell at a Wall Street event, circa 2005. (Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)
“Prince Andrew has denied all wrongdoing throughout,” British broadcaster and commentator Jonathan Sacerdoti told Fox News Digital. “But this latest development will have badly dented any hope he might have had of taking on a more public role again sometime in the near future. He may have hoped his settlement would have drawn a line under things, but we can see this scandal simply won’t go away.”
Prince Andrew is seen departing Westminster Abbey after the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, 2023, in London. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)
In a lawsuit filed in 2020, Giuffre, 40, accused Andrew of sexually exploiting her on three occasions in 2001 when she was 17. Though Andrew has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, he agreed to an out-of-court settlement paid to the American woman in February 2022. The prince made a substantial donation to his accuser’s charity and declared he never meant to malign her character.
Jeffrey Epstein, who was convicted of having sex with an underaged girl, was connected with several prominent people, including politicians, actors and academics. (Rick Friedman/Corbis)
The settlement amount was reported to be anywhere between $3.6 million to $14.8 million.
“Frankly, within the institution, he was already done,” British royals expert Shannon Felton Spence told Fox News Digital. “There hasn’t been a way back for him since the BBC interview. This doesn’t change anything for him with the king, the monarchy or the U.K. public… His fate is locked, but it has been for several years at this point.”
Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital that “it’s significant” that Buckingham Palace has yet to issue a public statement addressing the latest allegations. Still, he wouldn’t be surprised if King Charles “has had it with his brother.”
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING? CLICK HERE FOR MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
The former Prince Charles, Prince Andrew’s eldest brother, became king upon their mother’s death. ( Max Mumby/Indigo)
“This may be the final nail in Andrew’s coffin,” he stressed. “God knows the last thing King Charles needs is another scandal casting a senior member of the royal family in a negative light.”
“There is no way back,” chimed British royal expert Hilary Fordwich. “… A great pity is that he could have spent so much time redeeming himself, but he hasn’t… While he wasn’t ever formally found guilty of any crime, he is guilty in the court of public opinion, a nebulous arena… He is guilty of dreadful judgment… That is the root of his demise coupled with disgusting dalliances.”
Prince Andrew, left, welcomed Jeffrey Epstein, right, into his elite circle. (Tim Graham Photo Library)
The documents being unsealed are part of a 2015 lawsuit filed against Maxwell by Giuffre. She is one of the dozens of women who sued Epstein saying he had abused them at his homes in Florida, New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands and New Mexico.
A mural of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is seen in Shoreditch on July 1, 2020, in London. (Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
In 2022, Giuffre withdrew an accusation she had made against Epstein’s former attorney, the law professor Alan Dershowitz, saying she “may have made a mistake” in identifying him as an abuser.
The records – including transcripts of interviews with some of Epstein’s victims and old police reports – contained reminders that the millionaire surrounded himself with famous and powerful figures, including a few who have also been accused of misconduct.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.