Prince Andrew and his legal team have hit back at the sexual assault lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre. In a bizarre twist, a UK media report claims the Duke of York is hoping disgraced actor Kevin Spacey can help clear his name.

Prince Andrew continued to deny he was close friends with Ghislaine Maxwell and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He appeared in a 2002 photo with Spacey and Maxwell as he showed them around Buckingham Palace.

A source said The sun that Prince Andrew hopes Spacey can explain to jurors that Maxwell was the actor’s guest. “Andrew had invited Spacey for the visit to the Palace. She came with him – not as Andrew’s guest,” the source said.

In the photo, the three were seen chatting in the royal throne room. “The snaps go right to the center of the claims against Andrew, and an image of Ghislaine Maxwell in the most private space of Buckingham Palace looks very damning,” the source said.

“But if Kevin can convince a jury that he was the crucial link to Ghislaine, rather than Andrew, that takes the prince away from her somewhat – and that’s crucial. Andrew also thinks that such a gifted actor and speaker could be a very compelling asset in front of a jury.

Prince Andrew’s claims of hoping for help from Spacey come amid reports that the Duke of York has renounced his membership at a prestigious golf club.

Prince Andrew was an honorary member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland. The private golf club has approximately 2,400 members worldwide.

On Friday, a club spokesperson confirmed the end of Prince Andrew’s membership.

“I can confirm that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews has received notification that the Duke of York will relinquish his Honorary Membership,” the rep said. “We respect and appreciate his decision.”

The club, founded in 1754, was responsible for administering the rules of golf for 250 years before the functions were taken over by another organization.

Prince Andrew in January 2020 in Hillington, Norfolk Photo: AFP / Lindsey Parnaby