Road to official royal status for Prince Andrew is barred forever, royal expert says


Royal expert Jennie Bond writes in the Mirror about how ‘even though the civil case brought by Virginia Giuffre is over, the road back to official royal status for the Duke of York remains barred forever’

Newsnight
Prince Andrew in the infamous Newsnight interview

The Duke of York and his accuser Virginia Giuffre have reached an out-of-court settlement in the civil sex claim filed in the US.

Ms Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, made the claim against Andrew for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law.

Andrew denies the allegations against him.

In a letter submitted to the United States District Court on Tuesday, Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies wrote jointly with Andrew’s lawyers to say that the parties had “reached a settlement in principle.”

Court documents show the Duke will make a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”.

Andrew has also pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein” by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”.

Virginia Giuffre aka Virginia Roberts
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Here, Royal author and former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond writes that Andrew is tarnished by his friendship with a convicted paedophile.

And she notes how it will take more than a charity donation to clear his name…

The cost to Prince Andrew of establishing his long-running dispute over sexual abuse allegations will not be cheap.

But the cost to his reputation is clear. Even though the civil case brought by Virginia Giuffre is over, the road back to official royal status for the Duke of York remains barred forever.

It is a cleverly worded statement.

The announcement of an out of court settlement avoids any suggestion that Prince Andrew was personally involved in any wrongdoing. But it accepts that Virginia Giuffre is a victim of sexual abuse and trafficking at the hands of the man the Prince once regarded as a useful friend.

Ms Giuffre has not won the public apology she was seeking, but neither has she withdrawn her allegations that Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her on three occasions.

The Duke of York speaking to Emily Maitlis
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It is the Prince who has made the real concessions in this settlement, contritely stating that he never intended to malign the character of the woman he claims he has no recollection of meeting.

His lawyers had been sharpening their knives and asserting that Ms Giuffre might suffer from memory lapses. They had raised the possibility of interviewing her husband and her psychologist about her mental health. But now the Prince acknowledges that she has suffered not only as a victim of abuse but as a result of unfair public attacks. Some might think that those attacks largely came from his own camp.

The Prince now makes it clear that he does indeed regret his association with Jeffrey Epstein (pictured)
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And, in a change of heart, the Prince now makes it clear that he does indeed regret his association with Jeffrey Epstein. In his car crash TV interview on Newsnight, he was asked directly by Emily Maitlis whether he regretted the friendship.

“Still not,” he replied, “and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”

Andrew has always been an opportunist. He has now been persuaded to take this opportunity to show his support from him for the fight against the evils of sex trafficking by making a hefty donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity. He has also been persuaded to commend her bravery of her in standing up for herself.

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell
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Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

This settlement avoids the humiliation of the Prince being interviewed next month for up to seven hours under oath about intimate details of his sex life. It also puts an end to the sensational prospect of a Duke on trial in a civil court in the States…with all the attendant publicity and damage to the monarchy.

There’s no doubt that he was under pressure from the Palace to bring this corrosive episode to an end. In this of all years, with the Queen celebrating the historic milestone of her Platinum Jubilee, no one wanted any more lurid headlines about sexual abuse. She has already felt obliged to humiliate her son by sacking him from royal duties and stripping him of his HRH title and military appointments. The prospect of seeing him take the stand in an American courtroom was unthinkable.

The bluster of recent weeks, with the Prince saying he would fight as a private citizen to clear his name, was the usual grandstanding in civil cases. Virginia Giuffre was also said to be determined to have her day in court. In truth, the vast majority of these cases are settled out of court, and that was always the likely outcome.

Is there any way back for Prince Andrew now that this has been agreed? Absolutely not. The Queen has already assured the smooth transition of the monarchy by expressing her wish for Camilla to be Queen alongside Prince Charles. And the new King will want a streamlined modern monarchy in which Andrew was already surplus to requirements.

The Duke of York speaking about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis
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He is, of course, a much-loved son and is adored by his ex-wife, Fergie, and their two daughters. He will remain part of the royal family into which he was born, and I am sure the Queen will include him in family life. But there can be no public role for him ever again.

The fact is that Prince Andrew will forever remain tarnished by more than a decade of speculation about his friendship with a convicted paedophile.

As Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, commented about the out of court settlement:

“I believe this event speaks for itself.”

And in the court of public opinion it will take more than a charity donation and some carefully chosen conciliatory words to comprehensively clear the Duke’s name.




www.mirror.co.uk

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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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