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Prince Andrew settles sex abuse lawsuit with woman who says she was trafficked to him by Jeffrey Epstein

Britain’s Prince Andrew on Feb. 15 settled the sexual abuse lawsuit brought by a woman who said she was trafficked to him by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. (Video: Alexa Juliana Ard, William Booth/The Washington Post)

NEW YORK — Britain’s Prince Andrew has settled the sexual abuse lawsuit brought by a woman who says she was trafficked to him by financier Jeffrey Epstein — a legal case that cost him his public role as a working member of the royal family and threatened to bring humiliating new attention to the allegations.

The amount and details of the settlement were not disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday.

Andrew was sued in August by Virginia Giuffre, who said she was recruited as a teenager by Epstein and his longtime paramour, Ghislaine Maxwell, in Palm Beach, Fla., where Epstein maintained a villa residence. She alleged that the couple introduced her to Andrew, who was a friend of theirs.

Giuffre, now a 38-year-old mother living in Australia, alleged that she was forced to have sexual encounters with Andrew in New York, in London and on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean in the early 2000s, when she was 17.

The settlement puts to rest a legal drama centered on one of the most famous people to have had social ties to Epstein, a multimillionaire investor whose well-known associates also included Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, among others. Epstein died by suicide more than two years ago while in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

What's next for Prince Andrew, cast out into the royal wilderness?

For years, Andrew accused Giuffre of lying and sought to distance himself from Epstein, who before his death was accused by dozens of young women of recruiting and molesting them and demanding erotic massages multiple times a day.

In a one-page statement filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, the parties agreed that Andrew “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 statement says it is “known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years. Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.”

“He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims,” the statement continues.

Andrew, 61, has repeatedly denied the sex abuse allegations outlined in the lawsuit and has not been criminally charged. He does not admit wrongdoing in the statement.

Legal peril for Prince Andrew raises the question: Who would pay a settlement?

“The amount is confidential,” Giuffre attorney David Boies said in a statement, adding that the settlement “speaks for itself.”

An attorney for Andrew did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson declined to comment beyond what was noted in the court filing, and a palace official referred a request for comment to Andrew, whose royal title is the Duke of York.

“It is a matter for the duke and his legal team,” the official said.

Since Giuffre first accused Andrew, the prince has lost his position as a trade envoy, his status as a “senior working royal” and, last month, his military titles and remaining patronages. He had been patron to more than 100 charities before organizations began cutting ties over his association with Epstein and the allegations.

The lawsuit also set off intense public intrigue over what legal scrutiny and embarrassment Andrew would face if he went to trial, and who would foot the bill for a settlement if one were reached.

Queen Elizabeth is very wealthy, but her son’s assets do not compare. He owns a seven-bedroom ski chalet in Switzerland, which he purchased for $29 million and which could soon be gone, sold to raise cash for legal fees and the settlement. The Swiss property is one of the few obvious sources of money the prince is believed to have.

Federal prosecutors in New York sought to speak to Andrew throughout their Epstein-related investigation. While Andrew had claimed publicly that he was willing to be interviewed, then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in June 2020 accused the prince of bluffing.

In a 2019 BBC interview, Andrew claimed never to have met Giuffre, suggesting a widely distributed 2001 photograph that depicts him with his arm around the young woman’s waist must have been fake. Giuffre is wearing a midriff-exposing shirt, and Maxwell can be seen grinning in the background.

Andrew also said he could not have met Giuffre at Maxwell’s London townhouse on the night in question because he was at a Pizza Express with his daughter in a suburb that night. And he disputed Giuffre’s claim that he sweated all over her on a nightclub dance floor, maintaining that an incident that occurred when he was a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War curtailed his ability to sweat.

At Maxwell trial, jurors are asked: Are enablers criminally liable for sex abuse?

Giuffre, who previously engaged in litigation with Epstein and Maxwell, still has a lawsuit pending against attorney Alan Dershowitz, who denies her claim that she was forced to have sex with him after meeting him through Epstein. Dershowitz has countersued Giuffre, alleging defamation.

Taken together, Giuffre’s claims encapsulate the trafficking and abuse allegations made by multiple young women, several of whom testified against Maxwell before she was convicted of sex trafficking late last year.

Even with the lawsuit settled, there is no obvious path for Andrew to return to royal prominence, legal analysts and palace watchers said Tuesday.

“In the court of public opinion, this looks very much like an admission of bad conduct from the prince,” said Nick Goldstone, an attorney and head of dispute resolution at the Ince law firm in London.

Dickie Arbiter, a former Buckingham Palace spokesman who frequently comments on the royal family, said the settlement will probably bring “a certain amount of relief for the royal family” but will not restore Andrew’s place.

“Will the military want him back? I think not,” Arbiter said. “Will the charities want him back as patron? No.”

Former palace courtiers have imagined for Andrew a kind of lifelong “internal exile” in which he is mostly kept out of the public eye, with the exception of his mother’s funeral or the coronation of his older brother Charles to the throne.

Booth reported from London. Karla Adam in London contributed to this report.

Read more:

Prince Andrew, cast into the royal wilderness, will fight his lawsuit alone

Legal peril for Prince Andrew puts spotlight on who will pay

Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of trafficking girls for Jeffrey Epstein