Prince Andrew's decision to settle a claim that he sexually abused an underage woman years ago may bring an end to his legal difficulties. It will not, however, repair the damage done to his reputation. It likely means he will never return to a public, royal life.
The settlement by the 61-year-old Duke of York includes a payment to Virginia Giuffre. She is a woman who had accused him of sexually abusing her when she was young. The amount of the payment was not made public.
The settlement was revealed on Tuesday in a court filing in New York City. It said that the prince had never meant to insult Giuffre.
That marked an unusual change. The prince’s lawyers had accused Giuffre of seeking money with a "baseless" claim. Andrew has said as recently as late January that he wanted the case to be heard before a United States jury.
Royal experts said after the settlement that Andrew would likely not be able to return to public life as a member of royalty. Britons who spoke to Reuters said the case had done serious damage to the whole royal family.
Insurance worker Anthony Joho said the situation had destroyed the reputation of a family that represents the nation.
Once you see the real human being, “it's hard to maintain their actual role as a royal family," he said.
At the heart of the case was the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in jail in 2019, and his friend Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell was recently found guilty in the U.S. of sexually abusing young, underage women.
Royal expert Penny Junor told Reuters that Andrew's failure to show any support for Epstein's victims had been unforgivable. "
He came across as a really unsympathetic figure," she said.
Andrew has always denied that he forced Giuffre to have sex more than 20 years ago at the London home of Maxwell, Epstein's home in Manhattan, and Epstein's private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The prince did not admit guilt in the settlement.
In 2019, he gave a disastrous interview to the BBC, saying he had no memory of Giuffre. He also said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of all the business people he had met.
Fall from grace
In January, Andrew lost his military links and royal patronages, and gave up his "Royal Highness" title.
Andrew's problems have come at a difficult time for the British royal family. Among other things, it has been called racist by the queen's grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.
Royal experts say the Queen and senior members of the royal family still receive great respect from the British public.
But public opinion studies already show that support for the royals among younger people has decreased a lot. Many are questioning how the prince will pay Giuffre.
Graham Smith is the head of the anti-monarchy group Republic.
"There are lots of questions about Andrew's personal wealth and how he manages to fund the lifestyle he leads," he said.
Buckingham Palace did not comment on the settlement.
I’m Susan Shand.
The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English.
Words in This Story
reputation –n. the common opinion that people have about someone or something : the way in which people think of someone or something
baseless –adj. not based on facts; without a good reason
patronage –n. money and support that is given to an artist, organization, or member of a royal family
monarchy –n. a form of government in which a country is ruled by a monarch; a ruling or representative group that includes a king or a queen
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