The Queen with Prince Andrew at Royal Ascot, 2018 (Photo by Mark Cuthbert)

The settlement by Prince Andrew was announced in a terse two-page court filing by Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies. He writes to Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court in New York, “We write jointly with counsel for defendant to advise the Court that the parties reached a settlement in principle of the above-referenced action. The parties anticipate filing a stipulation of dismissal of the case within thirty (30) days.” The financial terms of the settlement were not released.

Giuffre had filed the civil claim against Prince Andrew, alleging that she had been forced to have sex with the Queen’s second son and had been sexually trafficked by convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was a friend of the prince, and a person with whom the Prince had stayed in contact, even after his criminal conviction.

Filed with the letter was a seven-sentence exhibit that stated that while the amount is not disclosed, Prince Andrew “intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.” Also, it stated that, even after the prince’s lawyers had spoken harshly of Virginia Giuffre and her motivations, “Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character.”

Agreement by Prince Andrew to settle civil lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre, who alleged that she was forced to have sex with him.

The carefully worded statement continues, stating that “Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.”

Though many had speculated that a settlement was in the cards (the overwhelming majority of U.S. civil cases are settled out of court), the timing means that Prince Andrew avoids what was sure to be a brutal deposition by Boies. Given his 2019 BBC interview regarding Epstein and Giuffre’s allegations was widely considered a disaster, it’s not hard to see how the prince’s team would have wanted to avoid a multi-day cross-examination under oath.

Now, he’s settled. But the damage is done. He is no longer a working royal; his royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, along with his military connections; he no longer uses the HRH moniker in public; he’s largely ostracized from royal events and society as a whole; he’s considered a private member of the Queen’s family.

It’s hard to see any way for him to claw his way back to the position he once had. This settlement just marks the beginning of the rest of his life.