DAN WOOTTON: Prince Andrew may have saved his mother’s jubilee but she must resist any attempt from him to worm his way back. Settling with his accuser means his disgrace must last for life
He may have bought his way out the humiliation of being questioned about his connections to the sleazeball Jeffrey Epstein – and worse – but Prince Andrew will still die a disgraced royal outcast.
That much I am convinced of after today’s bombshell settlement with Virginia Giuffre, which takes from the Duke of York his final chance of public redemption.
Don’t forget, the bloke formerly known as Randy Andy had multiple opportunities to clear his name, to explain why he was BFFs for years with the prolific paedos and child sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and to refute the claims made by Giuffre.
He could have credibly explained himself during that car crash BBC interview with Emily Maitlis, where he appeared as guilty as sin, and unrepentant to boot.
He could have followed through on his promise to assist the FBI and authorities in the US investigating Epstein, with whom he remained close even after he was imprisoned.
He could have fulfilled his Pitbull-like lawyer’s recent pledge to face down his long-time accuser in a jury trial.
DAN WOOTTON: Prince Andrew will still die a disgraced royal outcast. (Pictured: Prince Andrew at Sunday Service in Windsor following death of Prince Phillip in April 2021)
That was all just talk – Andrew has too much to be ashamed about and far too much to hide.
So instead, this pathetic, entitled, failed excuse for a public servant sat in his grace and favour mansion and wrote a big fat cheque – perhaps partly funded by his long-suffering mother who has sacrificed so much for the good of her people and should have expected more from her favourite son.
But in signing that cheque, Andrew has also written his public resignation letter – there is no way back now.
And, even though he’s proven himself to be a stupid man, he must have known the consequences of today’s decision, which makes me even more certain he is acutely aware the courtroom revelations would have heaped more shame on the Royal Family.
The legal discovery would have even seen his daughter Princess Beatrice quizzed on her dad’s infamous alibi that he had taken her to a Pizza Express in Woking on the day he was alleged to have slept with Giuffre, who was 17 at the time and a minor under US law.
While Andrew doesn’t admit guilt for obvious reasons given ongoing criminal investigations, today’s 146-word joint statement is damning and highly embarrassing for the man who previously refused to admit to having met Giuffre.
In a letter to US judge Lewis A Kaplan, both parties say: ‘Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.
‘Prince Andrew has 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. It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years.
DAN WOOTTON: This pathetic, entitled, failed excuse for a public servant sat in his grace and favour mansion and wrote a big fat cheque – perhaps partly funded by his long-suffering mother who has sacrificed so much for the good of her people and should have expected more from her favourite son. (Pictured: The Queen and Prince Andrew at Trooping The Colour at Buckingham Palace on June 8, 2019)
‘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.’
We know that Andrew’s regret is completely disingenuous and based solely on the metaphorical tornado that has been unleashed on his life.
I won’t forget that when he sat down with Maitlis, he insisted he didn’t regret his friendship with Epstein because ‘the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful’.
I’ll also never forget the day after the broadcast, being told by one of my close royal contacts that Andrew had gone to church with the Queen and declared the interview a ‘great success’.
If he wasn’t so ghastly, you could almost feel sorry for the man, who has clearly never lived in the real world.
DAN WOOTTON: Virginia won’t go quietly and nor should she in the post #MeToo age, where confidentiality agreements are frowned upon. There will be big money TV interviews, a tell-all book, documentary series and maybe even a film deal. (Pictured: Virginia Giuffre leaves a New York hearing relating to Epstein’s case in August 2019)
Virginia won’t go quietly and nor should she in the post #MeToo age, where confidentiality agreements are frowned upon. There will be big money TV interviews, a tell-all book, documentary series and maybe even a film deal.
Is she telling the truth? Maybe, maybe not. But, despite the rhetoric, Andrew was not prepared to face her in court, so she will be given the benefit of the doubt.
Today’s settlement, while devastating for Her Majesty, will at least save her from months of revelations about Andrew’s sordid sex life, which risked overshadowing her Platinum Jubilee year.
But the public will rightly want to know whether the Queen helped finance today’s settlement, which is expected to be worth around £7.5 million.
And, despite her old age and completely understandable desire to enjoy her twilight years, she must now stand firm against her son’s inevitable attempts to make a return to public life.
Do not put it past Andrew, either, to try and manipulate his mother. After all, this is a man who used the death of his father Prince Philip to stage the first bid for a comeback, insisting he make a public tribute on camera and then demanding he wear military uniform at the funeral.
DAN WOOTTON: While Andrew doesn’t admit guilt for obvious reasons given ongoing criminal investigations, today’s 146-word joint statement is damning and highly embarrassing for the man who previously refused to admit to having met Giuffre. (Pictured: Ms Giuffre during a BBC Panorama interview in 2019)
Andrew is fully aware that when his mother passes away, a future King Charles wants to banish him and do whatever he can to erase him from royal life.
As I revealed last year, there are already long-term moves afoot to boot the Duke from Royal Lodge at Windsor, a mansion that he shares with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, an equally disgraced figure who is now his only public champion.
It’s pitiful really.
The life of a royal war hero completely ruined by lust, greed and the inability to realise what’s right and what’s wrong.
Prince Andrew provides a stark warning of how easy it’s going to be for the Royal Family to be seriously damaged in the post-Elizabethan era by a sole entitled oaf.
His younger relatives must take note – the very future of the monarchy is at stake.
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