Virginia Giuffre is unlikely to accept a settlement alone. A trial would be disastrous for the prince and his family
In 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey to an avalanche of enthusiastic press coverage. Thirty-five years later, he faces a lawsuit for sexual assault from Virginia Giuffre, a woman who was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein. He is disgraced, stripped of his military titles, will no longer be officially “His Royal Highness”, nor represent the Queen. After yesterday’s summit with his mother at Windsor Castle, Andrew is no longer a working royal in any capacity and must, as the statement from Buckingham Palace made clear, face the lawsuit as a “private citizen”.
Giuffre, a survivor of trafficking and abuse, has been courageous. Attacked and slandered by powerful individuals, she has continued to argue her case. She is, her team says, determined to have her day in court. The lawsuit may now go ahead as early as this autumn. In the year of the Platinum Jubilee, which was supposed to be all about celebrating the Queen and her long reign, the royal family are confronting the worrying possibility that attention will now be on the court case against Andrew.
Kate Williams is professor of history at Reading University and author of Becoming Queen and The Pleasures of Men