The Queen is reportedly refusing to pay for Prince Andrew's legal fees as he waits to learn whether he will face trial in the United States over allegations he sexually abused a teenager in 2001.
Virginia Giuffre alleges that Prince Andrew, the Queen's son and Duke of York, sexually assaulted her at the age of 17. She says this occurred after she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
The prince has consistently denied the allegations, including in an infamous 2019 interview in which one of his defences was a claim he cannot sweat.
An American judge is currently deciding whether a civil case brought by Giuffre against the Duke in New York should go ahead. Prince Andrew's lawyers argue he can't be tried as he is covered by a deal made in 2009 between Epstein and Giuffre.
The deal, released publicly earlier this month, shows that Giuffre was paid US$500,000 by the now-dead sex offender Epstein to end a claim for damages. She also agreed not to bring any cases against other "potential defendants"; whether that applies to Prince Andrew, who is not named in the deal, is what is in question.
There are now suspicions that Prince Andrew could settle out of court if a trial was allowed by the judge, who said this week he would rule "soon".
The Times reports a settlement is "on the table" as most US civil litigation is sorted before court but a source also notes Prince Andrew "has been very clear that he wants to clear his name".
Settling would avoid an extremely high-profile trial where details of the allegations would become public and likely cause a severe headache for the royal family. A trial would reportedly be held in the second half of the year, overshadowing the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
It's also reported by the Mirror that Prince Andrew is looking to fast-track the sale of his NZ$34 million-valued Swiss chalet to pay for the legal fees after learning that the Queen will not pay for the costs. A source told the tabloid there is "no doubt" the Queen would not pay for any settlement.
The Chalet Helora is found in the ski village of Verbier in south-west Switzerland and co-owned by the Duke with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. They are said to have a buyer, but the deal has not yet been completed.