Prince Andrew’s tarnished reputation is irreparable, but the Royal Family as an institution will most likely live on
Those who point out that the mega-rich can always buy themselves out of legal trouble by waving a cheque book have another case to add to their list – namely that of Virginia Giuffre vs Prince Andrew. In dramatic news that finally got Ukraine off the front pages, the Queen’s son has agreed a reported £12-million ($16.3-million) out-of-court settlement with the 38-year-old American who had accused him of historical sexual abuse.
According to reports, the Queen will help with financing. After a quick glance at UK newspaper headlines, Buckingham Palace’s hopes of a settlement in its Platinum Jubilee case would have vanished. They really don’t make good reading if you’re the Duke of York, or, indeed, the Queen.
“Royal wrong ‘un pays out to sex victim he’s never met. As you do,” declared the Daily Star. “He was his final shame,” pronounced The Sun. “Duke’s final ‘£10m’ humiliation,” was the verdict of the Daily Mail. “Andrew cuts sex case deal… but there’s no way back,” was the view of the Daily Express.
Let’s be honest: there was no way given the nature of the allegations against him, and Andrew’s proven association with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted paedophile, and his equally ghastly procurer Ghislaine Maxwell, recently convicted of child sex trafficking, that the Crown, or Andrew himself was ever going to allow this case come to court.
Even if he had won the case – and it’s important to stress the Prince has always maintained his innocence – simply too much dirty linen would have been washed in public. The Monarchy would be embarrassed by a court case that involved the Son of the Queen, and the association he had with those who were later convicted for serious sex offenses and sex traficking. So it is really no great surprise that we’re not going to get one.
But while settling was Andrew’s least worst option, it doesn’t mean it was a good one. The overwhelming consensus is that the harm done to the Prince’s already tarnished reputation will be irreparable.
Of course, paying off an accuser doesn’t automatically mean you’re guilty. Your reasons might be valid, even though you did nothing wrong. It is possible that you are in poor health, or have to deal with other issues in your life. You would prefer to settle the case than to fight it. It is possible that you want to be more involved in other things, rather than wasting your time fighting long legal battles. Note too that the statement announcing the settling of Guiffre’s case contains no apology or admission of guilt from Andrew, just “regret” over his association with Epstein.
However, for most people, the perception, rightly or wrongly, will be that the man once nicknamed ‘Randy Andy’ on account of his keen interest in the opposite sex, did have something to hide.
“To be honest, he may have been innocent all along. But why is he finally settling?” wondered Dickie Arbiter, a former Palace press secretary to the Queen. This is probably the view of most newspaper readers this week.
The simple truth is that Andrew’s association with the Despicable Duo – Epstein and Maxwell – will haunt him for the rest of his life. It is unlikely that he will ever be able to regain the titles which he lost, or even lose more. He will always be seen as the ‘black sheep’ of the Royal family. He will be ‘persona non grata’ at special celebratory occasions. He will be expelled from polite society.
Even the Duke of York Stakes at York horse races in May will be renamed to ‘The 1895 Duke of York Stakes’ to make it clear the race is not named after Prince Andrew.
The settlement means that the Royal Family, in its entirety, will be more likely to survive than Andrew. Although not guaranteed, it is more probable, at least with a reduced version. Although the Prince has passed away, the Crown is still alive. That surely is the main significance of this week’s news.
These opinions, statements and thoughts are the sole opinion of the author. They do not necessarily reflect those made by RT.