Council renews call for Prince Andrew to lose Duke of York title after Virginia Giuffre settlement

Renewed calls have been made for Prince Andrew to lose his Duke of York title after he reached an out-of-court settlement with his accuser Virginia Giuffre in the sex trafficking scandal he has become embroiled in.

Ms Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, made the claim against Andrew for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend, to have sex with the Royal when she was 17, a minor under US law.

Cabinet members at York Council tonight reiterated calls for Andrew to lose his dukedom associated with their city after making a similar call last month.

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities at City of York Council, said: “Following the news that Prince Andrew has reached a financial settlement in the sexual abuse lawsuit brought against him, we are reiterating our calls for his title as the Duke of York to be removed.

Undated handout photo issued by the US Department of Justice (left-right) of the Duke of York, Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell.

"Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, this should be the end of his direct link with our great city.

“York’s unique connection to the Crown and the Monarch is an important part of our city's legacy, history and a great source of pride.

“Buckingham Palace and the Government must consider the implications of the troubling allegations moving forward. We will be reaching out to MPs to raise our concerns and discuss any possible ways of ending Prince Andrew’s connection to York.”

In a letter submitted to the United States District Court today, Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies wrote jointly with Andrew’s lawyers to say that the parties had “reached a settlement in principle”.

The Prince will make a donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights as part of the settlement, but the precise sum has not been disclosed.

Representatives of the Duke said they would not be commenting further than what was said in the documents submitted to the court. His representatives also declined to comment on how the substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity would be funded.

The letter announcing the settlement read: “Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew have reached an out of court settlement. The parties will file a stipulated dismissal upon Ms Giuffre’s receipt of the settlement (the sum of which is not being disclosed).

“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.

“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.”

Responding to the settlement, Mr Boies said: “I believe this event speaks for itself.”

In January, the Duke’s lawyers submitted 11 reasons why the case against him should be dismissed, saying he demanded a trial by jury.

Royal author Penny Junor said the settlement made by the Duke of York is likely to come as a “huge relief” to the rest of the Royal family, as it means he will no longer be facing a public trial and the monarchy will be saved some of the controversy surrounding it.

She said: “Going to trial, it could have been very, very nasty. It could have been embarrassing, humiliating, and it would have been huge fodder for the tabloid press.”

Lisa Bloom, a lawyer representing a number of Epstein’s victims, said she and her clients “salute Virginia’s stunning courage”.

In a tweet, she said: “We hail Virginia’s victory today. She has accomplished what no one else could: getting Prince Andrew to stop his nonsense and side with sexual abuse victims. We salute Virginia’s stunning courage.”

Mr Boies had previously said his client and legal team were looking forward to “confronting” the Royal about his “denials”.

In January, Andrew’s lawyers attempted to throw out the civil sex case brought by Ms Giuffre, but a judge rejected this and ruled the case could go to trial. The Queen stripped Andrew of his honorary military roles in response, and he gave up his HRH style.

It led to the first call from York councillors for him to relinquish his Duke of York title.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell also put forward a Parliamentary motion on the issue after receiving “many emails” from residents calling for him to lose the title.

Claims made in Newsnight interview

PRINCE ANDREW’S association with Jeffrey Epstein returned to headlines in 2019 amid ongoing investigations into the American, who had killed himself in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The Duke made an appearance on Newsnight where he denied that he slept with Virginia Giuffre, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he had spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking.

He also claimed he had a medical condition which meant he did not sweat and twice stated his relationship with Epstein had provided “seriously beneficial outcomes” in terms of preparing him for a role as a trade envoy.