Prince Andrew has now settled Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against him for an undisclosed sum.
Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s acquaintances, convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, between 2000 and 2002.
She claimed that during this period she was forced to have sex with the royal three times, even though he knew she was only a teenager. Andrew has vehemently denied all of her sexual assault charges since she launched her civil action in August seeking an unspecified sum in damages.
Then on Tuesday it was revealed that the couple had reached an out-of-court settlement.
Speaking on behalf of both parties, Giuffre’s solicitor David Bois said the royal would “make a substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”. He added that those involved would request the case be dismissed within 30 days.
Andrew’s UK rep told HuffPost he had no comment “beyond the statement filed on the court file” – but people are still asking questions.
What changed Andrew’s mind?
The quick turnaround came abruptly, months before the trial was due to continue. Andrew and his legal team tried to have the case dismissed last month based on a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein, but it was thrown out by a judge and is expected to go to court.
Shortly after the judge dropped Andrew’s motion, the royal released a statement which read: “Prince Andrew hereby requests a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint.”
His request was seen as a publicity stunt in some corners because Giuffre had already called for a jury trial. Accepting an out-of-court settlement now seems odd to say the least.
Who paid the settlement?
The civil case was expected to be costly, as Andrew sought out his own legal team and fought it as a private citizen (as the palace clarified).
When he was a member of the royal family, he received £249,000 a year from the Palace in return for his royal duties, although this stopped in 2019. Andrew was removed from the royal payroll after his disastrous interview with the BBC “Newsnight” where he tried to explain his friendship with disgraced billionaire, Epstein.
His exact net worth also remains uncertain, but it is believed that he has lived on for the past few years on donations from the Queen’s private estate, the Duchy of Lancaster.
Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson only sold their £17million ski chalet in Switzerland last month. It has been speculated that this would go towards legal costs and towards Giuffre if she wins the civil case, but this has not been confirmed. Naturally, people are starting to wonder where he got the funds to settle the dispute with Giuffre.
What will happen to Andrew’s royal career now?
The Newsnight interview forced Andrew to step down from public life with immediate effect in November 2019, due to the force of public backlash, as he admitted his association with Epstein had become a ‘major disruption’ to his family.
In a statement released at the time, Andrew said: ‘Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from my public duties for the foreseeable future, and She has given her permission.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my misguided association with Jeffrey Epstein.”
This meant he no longer made official public appearances with the Queen or any of the other members of the Royal Family.
Then, when it emerged that Andrew was content to go to court to fight Giuffre last month, the Royal Family announced: ‘With the approval and consent of the Queen, military affiliations and The Duke of York’s royal patronages were returned to the Queen. , and the Duke will continue to hold no public office.
With this announcement, Andrew lost his military titles and the use of his HRH status.
Now that he’s settled out of court, will he attempt to make an unlikely return to royal life in the public eye?