Just before 3pm on Tuesday, Prince Andrew will log in to his computer at Royal Lodge, his 30-room mansion in Windsor Great Park, and click on an internet link that has been emailed to him by his lawyers.

The Duke of Edinburgh will then be watching Judge Lewis A. Kaplan via an internet video streaming. This is a New Yorker who has a lot of legal experience and will decide the fate of her second son.

Both sides of the Atlantic are facing high stakes. Virginia Roberts filed a civil action against Prince, claiming that he raped him as a teenage “sex slave” of Jeffrey Epstein.

During this week’s hearing – precisely 7,600 days since the first of three occasions on which Ms Roberts claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke – Andrew’s legal team will try to persuade Judge Kaplan that the case should be thrown out.

Andrew could face a public trial if their bid is unsuccessful. He would then be charged with rape in first degree.

Due to the high number of Omicron cases being filed in New York, the case will now be heard online rather than in Judge Kaplan’s Courtroom at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse Lower Manhattan. 

It is anticipated that the hearing will last approximately an hour. This comes just days following Andrew’s former friend Ghislaine maxwell was convicted in child sextrafficking.

The beleaguered Prince is desperately fighting a civil lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts who alleges she was raped by him when she was the teenage 'sex slave' of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein

Virginia Roberts, who claims that Prince raped him as a teenage “sex slave” of Jeffrey Epstein, filed a civil action against the Prince.

Maxwell was discovered to be a groomer of girls aged 14 and under for Epstein, an entrepreneur friend of Andrew who is a billionaire financier. He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Andrew Brettler is Andrew’s lawyer. He has previously defended many Hollywood celebrities. This week, he will attend the hearing with Melissa Lerner from Los Angeles. Ms Roberts’s lawyers – 80-year-old David Boies and the formidable Sigrid McCawley – will be in New York, while the Duke’s British legal team, led by solicitor Gary Bloxsome, will watch from an office in Central London.

The Mail was informed Sunday by sources that Andrew would not be participating but would rather watch at home.

His ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, their daughters and two children, will be a lonely man as he was last night photographed in Verbier (Switzerland) while on a ski holiday. The Duke could win his bid and 2022 may be the year he rebuilds his reputation. 

A civil trial against him could prove to be disastrous, as it would overshadow the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and do irreparable injury to the Royal Family.

His family’s reputation is already being tarnished due to FBI claims that Duke refused to talk to them as part of ongoing FBI investigation into Epstein’s sexual ring.

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein take a stroll through New York’s Central Park in December 2010

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein take a stroll through New York’s Central Park in December 2010

With the judges and participants scattered over thousands of miles, what will the real story be? The MoS has gathered the facts behind the jaw-dropping claims made by Ms Roberts and evaluated the truthfulness and contradictions in Andrew’s defense.

Ms. Roberts (38) claims Epstein made her have sex on three occasions with him in 2001.

Perhaps the most famous alleged incident, which occurred on March 10, 2001 when Ms Roberts turned 17, is a widely publicized photograph, that was subject to intense scrutiny.

The photograph, which was published in this newspaper’s first issue almost eleven years ago, depicts Andrew at 41 smiling and putting his left arm around Ms Roberts. This photo was taken at Maxwell’s London mews house. Ms Roberts claims that she was there earlier in the evening to have dinner with Epstein, Maxwell, and the Prince. Then, it was on to Tramp which is a member-only club. 

Ms Roberts said that Prince Andrew was like “Let’s dance together” and that she was like “OK”, which was what I thought. She also claimed Prince Andrew was a horrible dancer in an interview for NBC News. “He was constantly sweating all over me.”

They went back to Maxwell’s Belgravia mews, where Epstein made the famous photograph. She then led Andrew to a restroom.

She said that the abuse began in the bathroom. Then it went to the bedroom. Although he was not rude, he did say thank you.

Andrew’s advisors tried to doubt the authenticity of Andrew’s photograph. However, flight logbooks that Epstein’s pilot kept show that Ms Roberts and the Duke were both in London during the time. These logbooks suggest that Epstein’s Gulfstream jet flown from Tangier, Morocco, to Luton Airport, on March 9, 2001. The passenger manifest indicates that Epstein and Maxwell were on board along with Ms Roberts, Epstein and Maxwell.

Andrew stated that he didn’t remember ever having met Ms Roberts in his Newsnight interview of 2019, and that he’d been at home all night after taking Beatrice (then 12) to Pizza Express in Woking.

Andrew may have meant Sunninghill Park in Berkshire, which he shared with his ex-wife.

Andrew dismissed the account by Ms Roberts of the nightclub dance, saying that Mr. Roberts had taken too much adrenaline during the Falklands war. He was also unable to sweat.

In January 2015, according to legal testimony given under oath, Ms Roberts said she had sex with Andrew during an orgy on Little St James, Epstein's so-called 'Paedo Island' in the Caribbean. 'Epstein, Andy, approximately eight other young girls, and I had sex together, she claimed. Epstein’s home on Little St James is pictured above

According to Ms. Roberts’ legal testimony, she claimed that in January 2015 she had sex during an orgy at Little St James (Epstein’s “Paedo Island” in the Caribbean). “Epstein and Andy,” she said. She also claimed to have sex with eight young girls. Epstein’s home on Little St James is pictured above

Over the last two years, several aspects of his alibi were questioned. An ex-Royal protection officer said to the MoS, in February 2020: He believed that Prince Charles may have returned home to Buckingham Palace early on March 11th 2001.

To confirm, the ex-officer requested access to Buckingham Palace’s shift roster. He was then informed the records were lost.

According to The Daily Mail, Andrew booked a manicure at home in order to drop Beatrice off at Pizza Express. A family member who was hosting the party at Pizza Express confirmed that Beatrice attended, but couldn’t recall if the Prince was present.

This weekend, the Duke’s attorneys acknowledged that they could not provide any witnesses for his Pizza Express claim nor documents to prove his inability.

Concerns have been expressed about Ms. Roberts’s accuracy.

Floorplans of Maxwell’s bathroom reveal a small room and a standard sized bath – a cramped squeeze for two people.

Her claim that Andrew drank alcohol at Tramp has also been challenged by multiple sources who describe him as teetotal, while his equerry at the time said: ‘The idea of him dancing like that with all eyes on him is… unimaginable.’

The setting for Ms Roberts’s second allegation of sexual abuse – a month later in April 2001 – was Epstein’s £60 million New York mansion in a massage room dubbed ‘the dungeon’.

The Duke said that he had not stayed overnight in Epstein’s Manhattan residence during his Newsnight interview. “I was not staying there.” He insists that he may have been there, but he didn’t know.

Last year, however, it was reported that Andrew was in the 21,000-square-foot townhouse as a guest during the last night of the three-day April 2001 trip.

The official itinerary to New York and Boston had a three hour gap for private time on April 9. Records from flights indicate that Ms. Roberts arrived in New York at the same time. Andrew is also accused of having sex with Johanna Sjoberg during the same trip. The incident was said to have been one in which Ms Roberts was also “groped” by an Epstein’s latex Spitting Image puppet. The claim was denied by the Duke, as well any hint of improper conduct.

On November 2020, the MoS disclosed that an eyewitness had partially corroborated the puppet story. Steve Wright, a Yorkshire puppeteer, stated that in 2003, the Duke said to him at Buckingham Palace’s reception, “his Spitting Image” had been purchased by a New York friend who used it as a joke on him.

Glimpse: Andrew is seen waving goodbye to a brunette at the tycoon’s front door. He later said he had visited Epstein to break off their friendship in person

Glimpse: Andrew is seen waving goodbye to a brunette at the tycoon’s front door. Later, he claimed that he visited Epstein in person to end their friendship.

Wright claimed that Wright saw the “bloody thing” sitting on a sofa in a New York apartment and had an almost fatal heart attack as he looked at himself.

In 2010 – nine years after the alleged encounter with Ms Roberts – Andrew was pictured peering out of the front door of Epstein’s New York mansion and waving goodbye to a pretty brunette.

Newsnight was told by the Duke that Epstein had been convicted of sex offences at the time and that they were trying to end their friendship.

Ms. Roberts’s third claim that she was forced to have sexual relations with Andrew is the most disturbing, raising troubling questions over the truth of her claims.

Legal testimony under oath by Ms. Roberts in January 2015 revealed that she sex with Andrew at an orgy on Little St James Epstein’s so-called “Paedo Island” in the Caribbean.

She claimed that Epstein, Andy and eight other girls were among the sex they had had. “Afterwards, we had dinner at the cabanas. The other girls were chatting away among themselves and Epstein and the Prince chatted together… Prince Andrew must have flown early the next morning.’

Four years earlier, however, Ms Roberts had written the draft of a memoir which included a vivid –yet different – description of an orgy she said had taken place on Epstein’s island days after her 18th birthday in August 2001.

According to her account, she described having sex at the same time with a group Russian women while Epstein and JeanLuc Brunel, a French modeling agency boss, watched. He was not mentioned.

According to the memoir, Andrew’s third alleged sexual encounter was not at an island orgy. It took place at Epstein Ranch, New Mexico, where she and Prince were the only ones there. 

She stated that her job was to entertain the man endlessly. Later, during legal cross-examination Ms Roberts acknowledged that her draft was incomplete.

Roberts’s supporters claim that Ms Roberts is able to make such mistakes because of the trauma she suffered after Epstein’s grooming, trafficking, and abuse. Andrew may be concerned that Maxwell was convicted by the jury. They seemed to accept the fact that victims of sex abuse will sometimes give inconsistent testimony.

Maxwell’s attorneys focused on inconsistencies that Jane, one of Maxwell’s victims, had alleged in her account. However, the jury seemed to agree with Jane’s belief that “memory does not follow a linear path” and that Jane could recall certain events she didn’t previously remember.

How likely is it that Judge Kaplan will allow the Duke to dismiss Ms Roberts’s case Tuesday?

According to his legal team, they believe that Ms Roberts’ Australian citizenship means the New York court will not hear their case. Andrew was dealt a crushing blow by Judge Kaplan, who last week rejected Andrew’s request to suspend proceedings until Ms Roberts’ ‘domiciled’ issue is resolved.

After that, Brettler will likely argue that the Duke of Edinburgh is covered from lawsuits under a closed settlement agreement Ms Roberts and Epstein.

Andrew is said to be confident and not arrogant in regards to his chances of success. However, a close source stated that they feel the agreement has good legal grounds. Although the MoS is aware that the Prince has not been named in the agreement, it will probably spark new legal wrangling and lessen Ms Roberts’s chances of success.

Andrew will not convince Judge Kaplan to drop the case. The so-called “discovery” process in which opposing parties exchange evidence and documents, will go on. 

Andrew and Ms Roberts would also be asked to make depositions – formal statements given under oath. The Duke is being warned by lawyers that the burden of proof in civil cases is significantly lower than it was for criminal trials.

The Duke would then face two options: seek to end the case by agreeing a financial settlement – a move the court of public opinion would surely view as an admission of guilt – or continue to fight with the prospect of a potentially ruinous trial and further disgrace.

Last night, it was reported that Royal courtiers discussed plans to request Andrew to give up his title and any connections to charities in the event of a loss. Buckingham Palace sources described The Sunday Times’ report as “speculation” and added: “We wouldn’t comment on an ongoing legal issue.”