Prince Andrew Reaches Out-of-Court Settlement in Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Queen Elizabeth II stripped her son Prince Andrew of all military titles and royal patronages on Jan. 13 following a sexual assault lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who claims Andrew sexually assaulted her when she was 17. Andrew's motion to dismiss the suit was later denied by a judge, and the royal was asked to face a civil trial in New York.
"With The Queen's approval and agreement, The Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen." Following the announcement, Andrew will no longer be referred to as His Royal Highness or HRH. The Queen broke the news to Andrew in person on Jan. 13, according to ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship, per Variety.
Giuffre issued a lawsuit against Andrew for sexual assault and battery, which, she alleged, continues to cause "significant emotional and psychological distress and harm." Giuffre also claimed she was the victim of a sex-trafficking ring led by millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, which predominantly operated from 1999 to 2007. Epstein was found dead in his jail cell while awaiting trial in 2019.
In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for Andrew issued the following statement: "Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. However, it was not a judgement on the merits of Ms. Giuffre's allegations." The statement continued, "This is a marathon not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims."
The royal claimed that a 2009 settlement signed by Giuffre relieved him of all liability for the experiences she allegedly endured. The judge presiding over the Giuffre case noted that the agreement "cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, that the parties intended the instrument 'directly,' 'primarily,' or 'substantially' to benefit Prince Andrew."
On Feb. 15, Andrew and Giuffre reached an out-of-court settlement in the sexual abuse lawsuit, according to a court document filed by Giuffre's attorneys Tuesday, per NPR. The letter, addressed to US Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan, did not disclose the sum of the settlement but noted that Andrew and Giuffre expect to file a stipulation of dismissal of the civil suit within 30 days. "Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre's charity in support of victims' rights," the letter reads. "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."
Addressing the torment Giuffre and countless other women endured at the hands of Epstein, the letter continues: "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."