Prince Andrew settles lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, an Epstein accuser

Giuffre, now a 38-year-old mother living in Australia, alleged that she was forced to have sexual encounters with Andrew in New York, London and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean in the early 2000s, when she was 17.

In a one-page statement filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, the parties agreed that Andrew “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.”

Andrew, who has repeatedly denied the sex-abuse allegations outlined in the lawsuit, does not admit wrongdoing.

The statement continues that 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,” the statement continues.

A notice filed to the same judge on Tuesday said that, in light of the settlement, Giuffre would be withdrawing her civil claims against Andrew.

“The amount is confidential,” Giuffre’s attorney David Boies said in a statement, adding that the settlement “speaks for itself.”

An attorney for Andrew did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson declined to comment beyond what was noted in the court filing, and a palace official referred a request for comment to Andrew, whose royal title is the Duke of York.

“It is a matter for the Duke and his legal team,” the official said.

Although Giuffre made public allegations against Andrew years ago, her lawsuit further damaged his standing in the United Kingdom. Since he was first accused of wrongdoing in 2011, Andrew has lost his position as a trade envoy, his status as a “senior working royal,” and, last month, his military titles and remaining patronages. He had been patron to more than 100 charities before organizations began cutting ties over his association with Epstein and the allegations by Giuffre.

The lawsuit also set off intense public intrigue over what legal scrutiny and embarrassment Andrew would face if he went to trial, and who would foot the bill for a settlement if one were reached.

Queen Elizabeth II herself is very wealthy, but her son’s assets do not compare. He owns a seven-bedroom ski chalet in Switzerland, which he purchased for $29 million and which could soon be gone, sold off to raise cash for legal fees and the settlement.

The Swiss property is one few obvious sources of money that the prince is believed to have.

Andrew has long been entangled in public accusations involving Epstein, who died by suicide in a lower Manhattan jail cell in 2019. At the time, Epstein was awaiting trial for sex trafficking, his second arrest for acts involving underage girls after a plea deal negotiated in in Florida drew renewed scrutiny.

Federal prosecutors in New York sought to speak to Andrew throughout their Epstein-related investigation. While Andrew had claimed publicly that he was willing to be interviewed, then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in June 2020 accused the prince of bluffing.

In a 2019 BBC interview, Andrew claimed never to have met Giuffre, saying a widely distributed 2001 photograph that depicts him with his arm around the young woman’s waist must have been altered. Giuffre is wearing a midriff-exposing shirt, and Maxwell can be seen grinning in the background of the photo.

Andrew also said he couldn’t have met Giuffre at Maxwell’s London townhouse on the night in question because he was at a Pizza Express with his daughter in a suburb that night. And he disputed Giuffre’s claim that he sweated all over her on a nightclub dance floor, maintaining that an incident that occurred when he was a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War curtailed his ability to sweat.

Giuffre, who previously engaged in litigation with Epstein and Maxwell, still has a lawsuit pending against attorney Alan Dershowitz, who adamantly denies her claim that she was forced to have sex with him after meeting him through Epstein.

Taken together, Giuffre’s claims encapsulate the trafficking and abuse allegations made by multiple young women, several of whom testified against Maxwell before she was convicted of sex-trafficking late last year.

Even with the lawsuit settled, there is no obvious path for Andrew to return to royal prominence, legal analysts and palace watchers said on Tuesday.

“In the court of public opinion, this looks very much like an admission of bad conduct from the prince,” said Nick Goldstone, an attorney and head of dispute resolution at the Ince law firm in London.

Dickie Arbiter, a former Buckingham Palace spokesman who frequently comments on the royal family, said the settlement will likely bring “a certain amount of relief for the royal family,” but will not restore Andrew’s place.

“Will the military want him back? I think not,” Arbiter said. “Will the charities want him back as patron? No.”

Previously, former palace courtiers have imagined for Andrew a kind of life-long “internal exile,” where he mostly kept out of the public eye, with the exception of his mother’s funeral or the coronation of his older brother Charles to the throne.

Booth reported from London. Karla Adam in London also contributed reporting.

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