Prince Andrew has now settled Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against him out of court for an undisclosed amount.
Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s acquaintances, convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, between 2000 and 2002.
She alleged that during this period, she was forced to have sex with the royal three times, even though he knew she was just a teenager. Andrew has vehemently denied all of her accusations of sexual assault since she launched her civil case in August seeking an unspecified sum in damages.
Then, on Tuesday, it was revealed that the pair had reached a settlement out of court.
Speaking on behalf of both parties, Giuffre’s lawyer David Bois said the royal was going to “make a substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.” He added that those involved were going to ask for the case to be dismissed within 30 days.
Andrew’s UK representative told HuffPost that he has no comment “beyond the statement filed on the court docket” – but people are still asking questions.
What changed Andrew’s mind?
The swift U-turn has come abruptly, months before the trial was actually set to go ahead. Andrew and his legal team did try to get the case thrown out last month based on a settlement between Giuffre and Epstein from 2009, but it was dismissed by a judge and expected to proceed to court.
Soon after the judge dropped Andrew’s motion, the royal released a statement which read: “Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint.”
His demand was perceived as a PR stunt in some corners because Giuffre had already called for a jury trial. To now agree an out-of-court settlement seems odd, to say the least.
Who has paid for the settlement?
The civil case was expected to be an expensive one as Andrew was forking out for his own legal team and fighting it as a private citizen (as clarified by the palace).
When he was a working royal, he received £249,000 per year from the Palace in exchange for his royal duties, although that stopped in 2019. Andrew was removed from the royal payroll after his disastrous BBC “Newsnight” interview where he tried to explain his friendship with the disgraced billionaire, Epstein.
His exact net worth also remains unclear but it’s believed he has been living off handouts from the Queen’s private estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, in recent years.
Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson did sell their £17 million ski chalet in Switzerland only last month. It has been speculated that this would go towards the legal costs and towards Giuffre if she won the civil case, but this has not been confirmed. Understandably, 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 back in November 2019, due to the strength of the public backlash, as he acknowledged that 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 public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.”
This meant he no longer made official public appearances with the Queen or any of the other royals.
Then, when it appeared Andrew was content to go to court to fight the battle with Giuffre only last month, the Royal Family announced: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, and the Duke will continue to not carry out public duties.”
With this announcement, Andrew lost his military titles and the use of his HRH status.
Now he has settled out of court, will he attempt to make an unlikely return to royal life in the public eye?