'Tainted' Prince Andrew reaches out-of-court settlement with accuser Virginia Giuffre in civil sex case

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.

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”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

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.

Although the parties have settled the case, the agreement is not an admission of guilt from the duke and he has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

But Andrew will “forever be tainted” by the civil sex assault claim brought against him, a royal expert later said.

Andrew said he had 'no recollection' of ever meeting, Virginia Giuffre, despite them being photographed alongside convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell. Pic: US Dept of Justice

Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, said: “I just don’t think he’s ever likely to resume work as a working member of the royal family.

“I think that too much water has gone under the bridge for that and the institution of monarchy has been tainted by his association with Epstein and I just think that there’s no going back on all that.”

Of the likely reaction of the rest of the royal family, he said: “I’m sure that they’re glad this (settlement agreement) has happened, but does it exonerate the prince who really has not been charged with anything criminal?

“He will, I think, forever be tainted by this scandal, for want of a better way of describing it.”

Downfall of a British royal: Prince Andrew's car-crash interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitless in which he spoke about his links to serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

An attachment to the letter announcing the settlement gave brief details of the agreement between Andrew and Ms Giuffre but indicated the sum would not be disclosed.

It read: “Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew have reached an out of court settlement.

“The parties will file a stipulated dismissal upon Ms Giuffre’s receipt of the settlement (the sum of which is not being disclosed).

“Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.

Royal watchers did not expect the disgraced Duke of York to reach a settlement in the civil sex claim

“Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.

“It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years.

“Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.

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

Responding to the settlement, Mr Boies said: “I believe this event speaks for itself.”

In January, the duke’s lawyers submitted 11 reasons why the case against him should be dismissed, saying he demanded a trial by jury.

Royal author Penny Junor said the settlement made by the Duke of York is likely to come as a “huge relief” to the rest of the royal family.

She added: “Going to trial, it could have been very, very nasty.

“It could have been embarrassing, humiliating, and it would have been huge fodder for the tabloid press.”

Also giving her reaction to the news, Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing a number of Epstein’s victims, said she and her clients “salute Virginia’s stunning courage”.

In a tweet, she said: “We hail Virginia’s victory today.

“She has accomplished what no one else could: getting Prince Andrew to stop his nonsense and side with sexual abuse victims.

“We salute Virginia’s stunning courage.”

Mr Boies previously said his client and legal team were looking forward to “confronting” the royal about his “denials”.

Representatives of the duke said they would not be commenting further than what was said in the documents submitted to the court. The amount of the settlement is expected to remain private and confidential.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

In January, it confirmed that The Duke of York's military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.