By Stephanie Nolasco
Published December 13, 2019
Things have been tough for Queen Elizabeth II.
On Thursday, a royal source told Vanity Fair correspondent and author Katie Nicholl that the 93-year-old is faced with writer’s block while composing her Christmas day speech, attempting to highlight some of her family’s accomplishments from the past year.
According to the outlet, the annual Christmas speech is a royal tradition that dates back to her grandfather King George V. It’s also a task Elizabeth takes very seriously as her opportunity to address the nation.
“It’s still at a first-draft stage because of the election, but it probably hasn’t been the easiest speech to write,” the insider said. “It has been a very different time behind the scenes, and morale is at a bit of a low.”
The queen’s biographer Sally Bedell Smith told U.K.’s Daily Mail that Elizabeth will lean on her son Prince Charles, who is next in line to the throne. Smith said that Elizabeth greatly admires the 71-year-old and the two have been “closer than ever.”
It is likely Elizabeth will address some of the happier moments from the year, including the birth of her eighth great-grandchild, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, as well as Princess Beatrice’s engagement.
The British monarchy was shaken by a very turbulent year, mainly caused by Elizabeth’s other son Prince Andrew.
In November, the 59-year-old struggled to defend himself during a disastrous interview with the BBC about his relationship with the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sex trafficking.
Virginia Roberts previously claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions nearly 20 years ago. She alleged the first encounter occurred when she was 17 years old.
The Duke of York said he asked his mother if he can “step back” from his public duties.
Royal expert and writer Leslie Carroll, author of “Royal Pains: A Rogues’ Gallery of Brats, Brutes, and Bad Seeds,” told Fox News it’s undoubtedly a difficult time for Elizabeth, who is faced with one of the worst scandals for the royal family in its modern history.
“I feel a bit sad that at this stage in her life… the queen can never relax her hands on the reins of the monarchy and completely trust the younger generation to carry on,” Carroll said. “[She] is said to be ‘disappointed’ by Andrew… He’s always been a wild one, but he went off the rails by associating with Epstein, to begin with."
“The queen will continue to ‘neither complain nor explain’ because she was raised to do so; and with ‘duty first’ as a core belief,” Carroll continued. “[She]… needs to keep the country together as its moral spine, demonstrating the ‘there will always be an England’ sentiment that has kept Britain’s monarchy the longest-running show in history -- still going after over a millennium.”
Roberts, who now goes by Virginia Giuffre, said on Wednesday that she has been informed by the FBI about a “credible death threat” made against her. The claim was made just a day after she posted a cryptic message on Twitter saying she is in no way “suicidal.”
“In response to the overwhelming amount of support I have received, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is standing up beside me fighting for our children to have a safer future,” she tweeted. “I have been informed from the F.B.I there has been a credible death threat against me.”
On Tuesday, Roberts wrote that there were “many evil people” who want her quieted after she came forward with her shocking story. She is known as one of Epstein’s most outspoken accusers and has asserted that the Duke of York was one of the men she was forced to have sex with, an accusation that has led to his stepping down from official royal duties.
“I am making it [publicly] known that in no way, shape or form am I [suicidal],” she wrote. “I have made this known to my therapist and GP - If something happens to me - in the sake of my family do not let this go away and help me to protect them. Too many evil people want to see me [quieted].”
Roberts did a BBC interview earlier this month in which she described being trafficked to London in 2001. She told the outlet that Epstein and his girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, took her to a club where she met Prince Andrew.
“I was sitting there like I was always told to do. Sit there, be quiet, be polite, laugh if someone says something funny,” she said. “I wasn’t chained to a sink, but these powerful people were my chains. I didn’t know what would happen.”
Roberts also vividly described meeting Andrew for the first time.
"It was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me," she said. "His sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere. I was just like grossed out from it, but I knew I had to keep him happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine would expect from me.
"In the car, Ghislaine tells me that I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey -- and that just made me sick. I just didn’t expect that from royalty. I just didn’t expect that from someone people look up to and admire," she continued.
Roberts went to describe her alleged sexual encounter with the prince in some detail.
"There was a bath,” she said. “It started there, then went into the bedroom. It didn’t last very long, the whole procedure. It was disgusting.”
She said: “He got up and he said 'Thanks'. I sat there in bed, just horrified and ashamed and felt dirty."
Roberts admitted that her memory was foggy at the time and that she might have some dates and places wrong, but insisted she was certain of the key facts.
She also slammed Andrew’s claim that a photograph showing him and Roberts together with the Prince's arms around her waist was doctored.
“The people on the inside are going to keep coming with these ridiculous excuses, like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored,” she said. “I’m calling BS on this. He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there’s only one of us telling the truth, and I know that’s me.”
People magazine reported that Buckingham Palace told the BBC that the Duke of York “unequivocally regrets his ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein" and “deeply sympathizes with those affected who want some form of closure.”
The palace also stressed that “it is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
A lawyer for Maxwell, who has not been charged with any crimes, did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. Epstein died in a New York prison last August.