It’s been 48 hours since the announcement that there’s been a settlement in Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s lawsuit against Prince Andrew. While they haven’t confirmed how much the settlement is, it’s been reported that Andrew has to pay Virginia £12 million and has also promised a donation to charities supporting victims of sexual assault. Amazingly the British press is actually still paying attention to this story …and it’s because of the money. People want to know exactly how Andrew is funding his settlement because everyone knows he can’t cover it, which inevitably brings the conversation around to his mother, the Queen.
That’s the only way he can afford it, with her assistance. But how much of it? Some are saying that the Queen will take care of the donation commitment, because her money cannot be directed towards a sexual assault settlement. Many others are saying though that that still doesn’t clear Andrew and she’ll have to front at least some if not all of what he agreed to. There’s now discussion that this issue will be brought up in Parliament to make sure that wherever Andrew finds the cash, it won’t be public money. So a situation that they were hoping to wrap up to save the Jubilee continues to dominate headlines during this Jubilee year – which makes the “invisible contract” between the British tabloids and the British royal family even harder to enforce since they can’t not be reporting on a situation that is dominating public interest.
Aristocrats have historically always avoided talking about money. The British royals avoid it even more because their money involves public support and taxpayers which is why this mess is more than just Andrew, it’s a major monarchical issue. There was a piece published in the Independent yesterday that wondered if “We’re Getting To A Point Where We Just Don’t Want The Royal Family Anymore” and that conversation is not happening in isolation. This is the British royals’ worst nightmare – a challenge to their value and existence, when self-preservation is their biggest priority.
Aside from the money, here’s a detail that I think should be getting more play, from another article in the Independent that was mostly focusing on the financials of the settlement, and glossed over with one line:
“The Duke of York has reportedly agreed not to repeat his denial that he raped Ms Giuffre under the terms of a confidential settlement.”
This is consistent with the statement that was released with the news of the settlement in which Andrew said he never intended to malign Virginia and concedes that she is indeed a victim of sex trafficking and abuse. He and his team called her a liar over and over again. His supporters worked with journalists to question Virginia’s credibility and motives. He told Emily Maitlis on BBC NewsNight that he didn’t even remember meeting her!
And now he’s not only paying her millions of pounds, Virginia’s team also managed to secure in this settlement that he is never again to deny that he raped her, while she does not have to adhere to an NDA. Meaning she can continue – after the Jubilee – to tell people that he did rape her and he cannot refute it.
I know it’s not an “official” apology and is not considered a legal admission of guilt, but does it unofficially add up to one?
And still… he gets to keep some of his titles. Andrew will remain a duke and, at least right now, one of four counsellors of state for the Queen, which means he can technically step in for the Queen if she can’t fulfill her duties. The other three counsellors are Princes Charles, William, and Harry. His mother is doing the most to help him keep what little he has left.