It is “highly likely” that Prince Andrew will be called to give evidence in a trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, according to a royal author.
Maxwell is due to be formally charged in court in New York on Tuesday with conspiring to entice girls as young as 14 to engage in illegal sex acts with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein from 1994 to 1997.
She is a former girlfriend of Epstein, who died in prison last year as he awaited trial on sex offences.
She is also a friend of the Duke of York’s, who is caught in his own war of words with prosecutors in the US who are investigating the crimes of Epstein.
Maxwell denies wrongdoing, and calls some of the charges against her “absolute rubbish”.
Andrew, who is accused by one of Epstein’s victims of having sex with her when she was trafficked and underage, also denies allegations against him.
Nigel Cawthorne, author of Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace, said he believes it’s “highly likely” Andrew will be called on by US authorities to give evidence in the trial.
Of whether the duke could refuse to give evidence, Cawthorne said: "Refuse, and he can never hold his head up in public again. If he is questioned, it will make his Newsnight interview look like a walk in the park."
On whether Maxwell has evidence on the duke, he said: "It is possible. We must assume Andrew has done nothing wrong. But if she incriminates him, the authorities would have to act."
The author’s comments come as Maxwell denies being the link between Andrew and Epstein, who were friends for several years.
Andrew has claimed Maxwell introduced the two men, and discussed his relationship with Epstein as him being a “plus one” of her.
But Maxwell’s friend told the Mail On Sunday she was not at the party where Andrew met Epstein.
The friend said they met at party hosted by Lynn Forester de Rothschild, adding: “Lynn introduced Andrew to Epstein. It was all about the money with Andrew and Epstein.”
Maxwell’s court hearing on Tuesday will also cover the issue of bail, which prosecutors say she should not get, dubbing her an “extreme risk of flight”.
Her lawyers have argued there’s a risk she will catch coronavirus if she stays in jail. They also say coronavirus restrictions make it harder for her to “meaningfully participate in the preparation of her defence”.
Her bail application also includes a claim she had no contact with Epstein for a decade before his death.
The application proposes she is granted bail on a bond signed by five people and that she surrenders travel documents, agreeing to stay at home in southern New York, seeing only immediate family, friends and counsel.
Andrew has been accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, three times, once when she was underage. He denies the claims and said he has offered help to the investigation.
Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK