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Prince Andrew has managed to avoid a trial in the sexual assault case filed against him by Virginia Giuffre, but having been stripped of his military titles and royal patronages, what's next for the Duke of York?
The out-of-court settlement was announced earlier this week after Giuffre accused Prince Andrew of having sexually abused her on a number of occasions while she was being trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein.
Though the amount of the settlement has not been disclosed, many reports suggest it will exceed £10 million. The prince is also set to make a 'substantial donation' to Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights, though news of the agreement raised questions as to where exactly Andrew is getting the money from.
It's a matter that will be raised in parliament as Labour MP Andy McDonald seeks clarification, telling BBC Two’s Newsnight: 'This is a person of very high profile involved in a case where his position of authority and privilege has been allegedly abused and it is an enormous sum of money. We don’t know the precise figure but there is a risk that this will be at the public’s expense so we need to have that resolved. We need to know exactly where this money is coming from.'
Andrew stepped back from his royal duties in 2019, and while it has not yet been confirmed whether he will return to his role as a working royal, commentators have said a comeback was 'very, very unlikely', The Independent reports.
Royal author Penny Junor suggested a 'question mark' will always remain over Andrew in the wake of the settlement, whereas a trial would have resulted a legal victory and more clear outcome.
She commented: 'Somebody was lying, and we will now never know who it was, so I think that means Andrew is tarnished.'
Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, shared a similar belief as he said: 'I just don't think he’s ever likely to resume work as a working member of the royal family. I think that too much water has gone under the bridge for that and the institution of monarchy has been tainted by his association with Epstein and I just think that there’s no going back on all that.'
Despite repeatedly proclaiming his innocence, Andrew looks set to step away from the spotlight in the coming weeks. Reports suggest he will attend a service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip next month, but that he will have no role in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.
A palace aide cited by the MailOnline suggested Andrew will continue to see the Queen and other royals at private occasions, but he will no longer attend formal events or be pictured on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for official events.
Royal expert Ingrid Seward commented: ‘People will understand that he would want to join the family at his father’s memorial. But after that he will certainly have to lay low and just disappear for at least a year or two. He cannot live the life he once did, as a member of the Royal Family, because he would face questions and even ridicule.'
Seward has speculated that Andrew may 'live quietly', potentially at one of the Queen's houses in Scotland.
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