Prince Andrew's legal bill for a civil sexual assault trial, could be as high as $6m (£4.4m), a legal expert has suggested.
The Duke of York now faces the prospect of his accuser Virginia Giuffre giving a detailed account in court of the allegation she was trafficked to have sex with the Queen’s second son when she was 17 and a minor under US law, after a judge ruled the trial could go ahead.
And according to a lawyer, the Andrew “only has bad options in front of him” – including forking out millions in legal costs.
Mitchell Epner, a lawyer with the New York firm Rottenberg Lipman Rich, told The Times that Andrew would need to spend up to $2.5m on lawyers alone – before any final trial preparation.
He added: “I would expect the full budget to take the case through trial to be $4m to $6m, depending on how big of a legal team he assembles.”
On Wednesday US judge Lewis A Kaplan dismissed a motion by Andrew's lawyers to have the civil case thrown out after they argued Giuffre had waived her right to pursue him by signing a confidential settlement with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The judgment will be a huge blow for Andrew, and media lawyer Mark Stephens said it will prompt meetings of senior royals as they attempt to deal with the looming reputational damage to the monarchy during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
Watch: Prince Andrew: Judge decides sex assault case will go ahead
Stephens told the BBC: “Judge Lewis Kaplan has thrown a reasoned judicial decision like a bomb into the middle and the heart of the Royal Family and threatens to provoke constitutional crisis as a consequence.”
He said the duke has “no good options”, adding: “Essentially, I think he’s either going to have to engage in the trial process or he’s going to have to settle and that may well be his least worst option.”
Stephens suggested Andrew could appeal against the ruling, but put his chances of success at 40%, and said his best option was to try to settle the case with a financial payment.
However, Giuffre is reportedly not interest in a settlement – meaning Andrew will have to give evidence surrounding the allegations of sexual abuse made against him.
He has vehemently denied the allegations and his legal team has argued from the lawsuit’s first hearing that the case is “baseless”.
Sigrid McCawley, managing partner at law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, said Wednesday’s ruling was a significant moment for her client, Giuffre.
She said: “Today’s decision by judge Kaplan denying Prince Andrew’s effort to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s case against him is another important step in Virginia‘s heroic and determined pursuit of justice as a survivor of sex trafficking.”
She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.
Andrew has three main options – ignoring the lawsuit, which is his right, engaging with the US legal system to defend himself against the allegations or attempting to reach an out-of-court settlement with Giuffre.
If he ignores the civil proceedings a default judgment will be made in favour of Giuffre.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman asked about the development said: “We would not comment on what is an ongoing legal matter.”
Watch: Prince Andrew must face lawsuit claiming sex abuse