Prince Andrew now has three options, none of them good

The reputation of Queen Elizabeth’s second-eldest son seems unlikely to recover

Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Photograph: John Thys/AFP via Getty

Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Photograph: John Thys/AFP via Getty

 

Who is Prince Andrew?
Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward Windsor (61) is the second-eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. He has had several nicknames over the decades. As a younger man, he was called “Randy Andy” – a nickname he must now be wishing fervently the tabloid media had never bestowed upon him.

What is he being accused of?
Virginia Giuffre (38) has alleged in court documents filed in New York that Andrew sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was under the age of 18. Giuffre was first introduced to Andrew in 2001 by Jeffrey Epstein and his then partner, Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein, who went on to become a convicted sex offender, has since died in a New York jail, while awaiting trial for sex-trafficking charges. Maxwell has recently been found guilty of sex trafficking, and awaits sentencing.

How did Andrew respond to these allegations?
He hired lawyers and attempted to dismiss her sex abuse allegations lawsuit. That attempt failed this week when Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Giuffre’s civil case against Andrew could go ahead. Andrew has consistently denied all her claims. In an extraordinary self-aggrandising and unrepentant interview he gave to BBC Newsnight in 2019, he stated he had no recollection of ever meeting her.

What happens next?
Andrew has three options, and as pundits have been pointing out ever since the news broke, none of them are good. It seems he would be losing even more face, reputation and more (it is assumed) of his mother’s money by making an appeal, so that is deemed unlikely.

What is his least bad option?
He settles with a very considerable sum of money. That would mean the case would not come to court. Where he would get this very considerable sum of money from remains unclear. Could the British public stomach a scenario of Andrew being given a dig-out of possibly millions by his 95-year-old mother?

The caveat also is that any monetary settlement is only an option should Giuffre agree to one. Should she not agree, then the case must be heard. Or she could agree, but with conditions attached, such as an apology. Given Andrew maintains he has never met her, any apology for his behaviour would appear that he has in fact something to apologise for.

What is his worst option?
Take part in the trial and submit to questioning from Giuffre’s lawyers. That would involve ever more disastrous publicity for the British royal family in Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee celebrations marking her 70th year on the throne. It would definitely include unwelcome examination of his private life, and require him to provide medical evidence of his inability to sweat (a claim he made during that Newsnight interview), for instance. It could even mean other members of the royal family could be called to give evidence.

What if he does nothing and ignores the civil case?
An automatic judgment in Giuffre’s favour will be granted. That too would be a disastrous outcome. If he has nothing to deny, as he maintains, why not engage in due process to clear his name?

When is the case due to be heard?
Some time in the autumn.

Is Prince Andrew’s reputation ever likely to recover from these allegations?
No. Following the court’s ruling this week that the civil sexual assault case could go ahead, his mother, Queen Elizabeth, stripped Andrew of his honorary military roles and royal patronages. He will be defending the case as a private citizen.

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