Prince Andrew Settles Sexual Abuse Lawsuit With Virginia Giuffre
Prince Andrew, the disgraced second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has settled a lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, a woman who had accused him of raping her when she was a teenage victim of Andrew’s friend, the notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to a new court filing in Manhattan on Tuesday.
The amount that Andrew, 61, will pay Ms. Giuffre is confidential, the parties said in a joint statement attached to the filing.
Andrew also “intends to make a substantial donation” to a charity “in support of victims’ rights,” the statement says.
The deal comes just weeks before Andrew was scheduled to sit for a deposition, in which he would have been questioned under oath by Ms. Giuffre’s lawyers. Andrew did not admit to any of Ms. Giuffre’s accusations against him in the statement announcing the settlement.
The lawsuit by Ms. Giuffre, one of the most prominent of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, had cast a shadow over the royals at a time when Queen Elizabeth, the 95-year-old British monarch, was marking her 70th year on the throne. Andrew was forced to relinquish his military titles and royal charities, no longer was to use the title “His Royal Highness,” and was “not to undertake any public duties,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement last month.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Giuffre claimed that Andrew, known as the Duke of York, sexually abused her when she was under 18 at Mr. Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan and on his private island, Little St. James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The suit also claimed that Andrew, Mr. Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, had forced Ms. Giuffre to have sexual intercourse with Andrew at Ms. Maxwell’s home in London. Ms. Giuffre had feared repercussions if she disobeyed the three because of “their powerful connections, wealth and authority,” the lawsuit said.
Mr. Epstein, 66, was found dead in August 2019 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Ms. Maxwell, 60, was convicted of sex trafficking and other counts in a trial in December.
In the statement on Tuesday, Andrew said it was “known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years,” and that he “regrets his association with Epstein and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.”
The statement’s depiction of Ms. Giuffre as courageous contrasts sharply with the way Andrew’s lawyers described her in October, when they asked Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court to dismiss her lawsuit.
Understand the Allegations Against Prince Andrew
Royal troubles. A sexual-abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew, that has brought under scrutinty his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, has cast a shadow over the British royal family. Here’s what to know:
Controversial friendships. Prince Andrew’s woes are largely the result of his association with Mr. Epstein, the late financier accused of sex trafficking, and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently found guilty of conspiring with Mr. Epstein to recruit, groom and abuse underage girls.
The sexual-misconduct allegations. The accusations against Prince Andrew first surfaced in 2019, after Mr. Epstein was arrested on federal charges. One accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claimed that Mr. Epstein had trafficked her to Prince Andrew, and that the prince had raped her when she was 17.
The fallout. Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the accusations. After a disastrous BBC interview in which he tried to explain his friendship with Mr. Epstein, the prince announced he was indefinitely stepping away from public life in November 2019.
The lawsuit. In August 2021, Ms. Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in federal court in Manhattan, repeating her accusations. His lawyers have tried to get the case dismissed, but on Jan. 12 a judge allowed the suit to proceed.
Andrew’s lawyers claimed at the time that the lawsuit was part of a longstanding effort by Ms. Giuffre to profit from allegations she had made against Mr. Epstein and others. They also claimed that Ms. Giuffre had sold articles and photographs to news outlets and reached secret deals to resolve abuse claims.
“Giuffre has initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another payday at his expense and at the expense of those closest to him,” Andrew’s lawyers wrote then. “Most people could only dream of obtaining the sums of money that Giuffre has secured for herself over the years.”
In the statement on Tuesday, Andrew said that he had 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.”
The settlement came relatively quickly — just six months after Ms. Giuffre filed her suit and one month after Judge Kaplan denied Andrew’s motion to dismiss it.