Prince Andrew’s post-settlement statement about Virginia Giuffre is very different from what he said before

Perhaps Prince Andrew’s statement on his out-of-court settlement with accuser Virginia Giuffre was the best anyone could have hoped for. Out-of-court settlements nearly always include the stipulation that there will be no admission of guilt, and Andrew certainly admits nothing concrete.

In the statement, the disgraced prince acknowledges Giuffre’s victimhood, acknowledges that Jeffrey Epstein sex-trafficked young girls, and says that he regrets his association with Epstein, but does not admit to having sexually abused Giuffre, as she alleged. He does not acknowledge or apologize for having publicly maligned her, only asserts he never intended to do so. He commends Giuffre and the other victims’ “bravery” and pledges to make a substantial donation to her victims’ rights charity de ella. He apologizes, in short, for his proximity from him to Giuffre’s victimhood from her and nothing more.

We cannot know what, if any, acknowledgments or apologies he may have made to her personally. Nor can we know the details of the negotiations or the final settlement, though it has been reported that Giuffre would be unlikely to accept a purely monetary settlement that did not include some vindication for herself and the other victims.

Andrew’s statement today appears at odds with the accusations his lawyers lobbied at Giuffre before the motion to dismiss was denied. Back then, they accused Giuffre of fabricating accusations for money. There was no sympathy for her position and no mention of other victims of sex trafficking or sexual abuse. “Giuffre has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense and at the expense of those closest to him,” the statement read. “Epstein’s abuse of Giuffre does not justify her public campaign against Prince Andrew.”

Is this reversal what justice looks like? It feels awfully hollow if so.

I’m not from the school of morality that equates justice with punishment nor punishment with restitution. In a way, Prince Andrew has already been punished — stripped of his royal titles and duties, all but excommunicated from the royal family. It’s fair to say that he has been publicly disgraced.

If this settlement agreement had not been reached, Andrew would have had to sit for a deposition and answer Giuffre’s lawyers’ questions under oath. It’s reasonable to assume that after the judge denied his lawyers’ motion to dismiss the suit, they have had to reach a settlement before the deposition so as to avoid this very thing. It could’ve ended in a very humiliating way for the royal, considering the details of his long friendship with Epstein still have n’t fully been probed.

When Epstein died by suicide, many women were deprived of a full confession and proper closure. Andrew’s bland public statements written in the passive voice hardly make up for that. What we are left with is an apparent cultural reckoning with sexual assault where the assaults themselves are only acknowledged by its survivors.

Prince Andrew has been careful not to claim responsibility for any of the criminal behavior he now acknowledges happened and was perpetrated by Jeffrey Epstein. If he had openly stated that he considers himself blameworthy, that statement might also have been a vehicle for public forgiveness. As it is, we have a donation to a charity and a markedly different description of Guiffre and her supposed motivations for her. I suppose that’s what she — and all women — will have to make their peace with her this time round.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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