She agreed to a deal worth millions of dollars – however, it’s now emerged that as part of that deal, Virginia Giuffre may not speak publicly about her claims against Prince Andrew until after the queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.
Sources say Virginia, one of the victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, will for now remain mum on the details of her case. It’s a move clearly designed to protect Her Majesty and the royal family as they mark the year with a series of events to commemorate the queen’s 70 years on the throne.
Those familiar with the deal say there’ll be a “period of silence”, during which both parties would have to stick to the terms of a carefully worded statement.
Andrew, who’s always maintained his innocence, didn’t admit to any wrongdoing in a statement accompanying the rumoured $14 million (R211 million) settlement.
Instead, he apologised for his association with the late American financier, adding he “never intended to malign” Virginia’s character.
“Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein and commends the bravery of Ms Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others,” the statement reads.
This is in sharp contrast to the prince’s much-maligned 2019 interview when he told BBC Newsnight he didn’t regret his “very useful” friendship with Epstein.
In court documents, Virginia alleged she was forced to have sex with the duke three times on Epstein’s orders. She was just 17 at the time and Epstein was a friend of the royal.
The 38-year-old activist hasn’t yet breathed a word about the deal. However, she’s thought to have a book deal in the pipeline and might tell all once the jubilee celebrations are over.
“Ordinarily, you would have a complete non-disclosure agreement on both sides,” lawyer Mitchell Epner says.
“Since it’s a settlement in the context of, on its face, an apology from Prince Andrew, he believes Miss Giuffre has agreed not to say anything, but she’ll be in a position to write a book – probably for this Christmas season.”
The multimillion settlement was quietly struck over the weekend after Andrew (61) was reportedly told to resolve the issue.
“The walls were closing in fast,” a source says.
It’s since emerged the Queen will foot some of her son’s settlement costs, much to the dismay of the British public.
Meanwhile, commentators say the settlement is a big victory for Virginia.
Virginia first filed a civil lawsuit against the duke in a New York court in August last year. In the following months, the prince dodged all summonses issued by her legal team.
At one point he fled his Windsor home to join the queen at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland, where he was accused of “hiding behind his mother’s skirt”.
After countless setbacks in which the royal continued to plead his innocence, the judge finally ruled last month that the case – which would’ve laid bare the duke’s sexual history and private conduct – could go ahead. It was set for later this year and would’ve been one of the most sensational trials in US history.
Royal author and commentator Penny Junor says the settlement has likely come as a huge relief to the British royal family, but that the damage to Andrew is irreparable.
“Going to trial, it could’ve been very, very nasty. It could’ve been embarrassing, humiliating, and it would’ve been huge fodder for the tabloid press,” she says.
“It could’ve really taken the shine off the queen’s platinum jubilee year.”
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, mirror.co.uk