PRINCE Andrew's rape accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre has said the "rich and powerful" will be held to account as her case against the Duke goes ahead.
The 38-year-old has spoken out for the first time following the humiltaring ruling against The Queen's "favourite son".
Roberts claims she was introduced to Andrew by disgraced paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, and that the royal had sex with her when she was 17 – an allegation the Duke has strongly denied.
And she won the first battle this week when a judge threw out Andrew's attempts to torpedo her lawsuit using a backroom $500k deal she signed with Epstein.
It will be the first time the Duke has faced legal action over her allegations after she went public in 2011.
Andrew has now been stripped of his military titles and royal patronages and he now faces a court battle with Roberts as a private citizen.
Taking to Twitter, Virginia said: "I’m pleased with Judge Kaplan’s ruling yesterday that allows my case against Prince Andrew to go forward.
"I’m glad I will have the chance to continue to expose the truth & I am deeply grateful to my extraordinary legal team."
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"Their determination helps me seek justice from those who hurt me and so many others.
"My goal has always been to show that the rich and powerful are not above the law & must be held accountable.
"I do not walk this path alone, but alongside countless other survivors of sexual abuse & trafficking," she concluded.
Andrew's reputation is already in tatters over questions over his friendship with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was this month convicted of trafficking girls for Epstein to abuse.
He has repeatedly denied all allegations against him, which includes rape in the first degree, and his attorney's have claimed his accuser has a "tendency to change her story".
Epstein killed himself in prison while he was awaiting trial.
In a bombshell statement last night, Buckingham Palace confirmed Andrew will now have to go it alone.
The Palace said: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen.
The news comes as…
- Andrew vows to defend himself as Queen STRIPS him of titles
- Royal may have to reveal phone and email records
- Piers Morgan warns the royals 'far worse is to come'
- Meghan Markle’s dad urged her to speak up if she 'knows anything'
- Ghislaine Maxwell plans to file for a mistrial
- Prince Andrew has sold his Swiss chalet
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
It means he is stripped of 12 military titles which had been held in abeyance after he stepped down from duties in November 2019 after his car-crash BBC Newsnight interview.
Andrew is thought to be seeking an out-of-court settlement with Roberts after Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled he must stand trial in the US. He could have to pay up to £10million ($13million) — the amount he will get from selling his chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.
A source close to Andrew said: "It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.”
After Andrew was sensationally stripped of his military medals and royal patronages yesterday after a face-to-face showdown with the Queen, one expert claimed that the Royal Family were "absolutely furious" with him.
Royal biographer Angela Levin exclusively told The Sun: “If the Queen asked Prince Charles and Prince William they would have been very firm, Prince William and Prince Charles have been absolutely furious with him bringing the Royal Family into disrepute.
"Whatever he may or may not have done he certainly was a friend of Epstein and invited him to parties, royal parties when they knew he had been accused of having relationships with underage girls.
"So there’s no doubt about that. I would imagine that this time the Queen would also listen to her aides.
"But she also has strong views so if she didn’t want to do it, she wouldn’t have done it – she obviously felt they’d crossed a red line."
Virginia claims she was enticed by the Duke of York's pal Maxwell and lured into paedo Epstein's sick sexual pyramid scheme.
She alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions – in London, New York and on Epstein's island Little St James.
Her legal team argue she was a "frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her" when she was allegedly abused by Andrew, saying "no person, whether President or Prince, is above the law".
Andrew is named as the only defendant in the suit, brought under New York state's Child Victims Act, but Epstein and Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.
She is seeking unknown amounts of compensation and punitive damages over the allegations.
Virginia claims she feared for her life when she was allegedly forced to have sex with Andrew, who is accused of having been aware of her age and status as a "sex-trafficking victim".
Court documents claim Ms Giuffre was "lent out for sexual purposes" by convicted sex offender Epstein including while she was still a minor under US law.
The docs add the alleged assaults "have caused, and continue to cause her, significant emotional and psychological distress and harm".
In an infamous Newsnight interview with the BBC's Emily Maitlis in November 2019, Andrew denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre and said he had "no recollection" of ever meeting her.
He also said he has no memory of the well-known photograph of him with his arm around Virginia's waist at Maxwell's house, and has questioned whether the photo had been doctored.
The fallout from the interview saw the royal criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims and a lack of remorse over his friendship with disgraced financier.
Andrew has previously pledged to assist with any investigation into his former friend, but there has been a long running war of words between his team and US prosecutors about how much assistance he has offered them.
Epstein hanged himself in his prison cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking offences.
And meanwhile Maxwell faces potentially spending the rest of her life in prison after she was convicted for her role in the scheme.
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