Prince Andrew is said to be “totally tormented” at the prospect of his relationship with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein coming under further scrutiny after a judge ordered the release of secret case files.
They include 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed the Duke of York touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the US billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Andrew has always strongly denied the allegations against him.
But the Mail on Sunday reports that the royal is bracing himself for the scandal over his links to Epstein to reignite in the New Year.
An unnamed source told the newspaper: “He is beside himself with this latest development and everyone close to him is concerned for his mental well-being.
“He is at a loss, totally tormented. He is facing his second Christmas without his mother and now the New Year is going to start with his name being dragged through the mud all over again.”
Buckingham Palace previously said all allegations made against the duke are “categorically untrue”. The Duke is set to spend in Sandringham with his brother King Charles alongside other royals.
The documents are part of a 2015 US defamation case by Virginia Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite who supplied Epstein with underage girls. Ms Giuffre appeared in an infamous photograph when she was younger, alongside Andrew and Maxwell.
The individuals who are set to be named in the documents will have 14 days to appeal against the judge’s decision – meaning they are likely to be released in early January. Ms Giuffre settled her civil claim against Maxwell, but representatives of the media have since argued documents that were sealed as part of the case should be made public.
Judge Preska ordered some individuals should be named because they had already given interviews to the media – including Ms Sjoberg.
Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein and paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to Ms Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met.
The duke was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style after Ms Giuffre, who was trafficked by Epstein, accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17. Andrew has denied the claims.
It came after British journalist Emily Maitlis grilled the duke about his friendship with convicted sex offender Epstein as well as his relationship with Ms Giuffre.
In the infamous 2019 interview, Andrew denied Ms Giuffre’s claims and said an alleged encounter with her in 2001 could not have happened as he spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
But his responses were widely criticised, with many viewers accusing him of being unsympathetic towards Epstein’s victims, while others said he showed a lack of remorse.
In January 2022, ahead of his legal settlement, his mother the Queen stripped Andrew of all of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
The duke has largely stayed out of the spotlight since stepping down from public duties. In the summer, he was seen at the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla, at which he held no formal role.
The Duke’s biography on the royal family’s website states: “Prior to stepping back from public life, The Duke of York undertook a wide range of public work, with a strong economic and business focus.”
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide.
Maxwell has been imprisoned since July 2020, despite numerous attempts from her defence counsel to have her released on bail.
She was sentenced to 20 years in prison at the federal court in the Southern District of New York in June last year.
The socialite indicated her desire to appeal shortly after her conviction, with her lawyers claiming victims had “faded, distorted and motivated memories”.
Her appeal is currently scheduled to be heard in November next year.