British Prince Andrew, the middle son of the queen Elizabeth II, resigned from all military titles and royal patronage, and will be involved in the trial brought by Virginia Giuffre as a private citizen, he said on Thursday Buckingham Palace.
“With consent and in agreement with the Queen, military titles and royal patronage the Duke of York were returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will still not hold any public office and will defend himself in the case as a private person, “reads a short statement.
It is not mentioned in it, but British media say, citing sources at the royal court, that Andrew will no longer use the title of His Royal Highness (HRH), and the only one that will remain for him will be the title of Duke of York. These sources add that all titles and patronages will be distributed to the rest of the royal family.
Prince Andrew suspended his royal duties in November 2019 after a disgusted public interview with the BBC in which he denied ever having met Virginia Giuffre, and defended his relationship with the American financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In August last year, Giuffre filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrzej, claiming that in 2001, when she was 17, was sexually abused by him. Giuffre – then named Roberts – was one of a large group of girls who had been lured by Epstein with promises to work and then offered to his influential friends. One of them was supposed to be Prince Andrew, who consistently denies this.
A New York court on Wednesday rejected his lawyers’ request to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit over a 2009 settlement with Jeffrey Epstein, his last chance to avoid a civil lawsuit. According to its content, Giuffre in exchange for 500 thousand dollars has agreed to waive any claims against Epstein and “any other person or entity who might be involved as a potential defendant.” The prince’s lawyers argued that as a “potential defendant” he was covered by the settlement.
As the British media explain, this means that Prince Andrew has four options, neither of which is good. He can attend the trial and give evidence, which means a long media spectacle that could lose unless he actually proves his innocence. He may refuse to testify on the grounds of his right to refuse to testify against himself, but this will be taken into account by the court, which will likely agree Giuffre in this situation. She may refuse to participate in the trial altogether, which means that the court will decide it in favor of the applicant. Finally, it can reach an out-of-court settlement with Giuffre, which would require the payment of compensation.
This option seems quite likely, if only because of that 95 percent civil lawsuits filed in American courts end in out-of-court settlements. However, this would amount to an indirect admission of guilt. In addition, Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies told the BBC on Thursday that his client was unlikely to be content with financial compensation alone, but she would likely want an apology and plead guilty as well.