Last month, Prince Andrew, friend of the infamous billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, reached a £12 million out-of-court settlement with Ms Virginia Giuffre, who had accused the Prince of raping her when she was 17 years old.
Far from putting this scandal to bed, however, this costly settlement has attracted the ire and indignation of the public. Many view this latest development as a cynical attempt to pay off the victim and sweep things under the carpet.
One royal commentator aptly described the settlement as a “crushing defeat” for Andrew, which will have “lasting damage”. We would add: not only for him, but for the entire monarchy as well.
In a grovelling statement, Andrew’s legal team said that he had “never intended to malign Ms Giuffre’s character”, and that he “commends the bravery of Ms Giuffre”. Yet earlier, this same legal team said that Giuffre had “initiated this baseless lawsuit against Prince Andrew to achieve another pay day at his expense”.
Why the sudden change of heart? The Duke’s team changed tack when a firm date was set for a deposition. Andrew, not exactly known for keeping his cool under pressure, likely panicked at the thought of testifying under oath, and decided it was time to pay out. The whole thing reeks of guilt.
Despite the large sums paid out, Andrew has still not admitted any responsibility; nor is he required to offer an official apology. To this day, he maintains that he is innocent.
This begs the question: Why did he pay so much money to avoid a trial, if he had nothing to hide? Surely, the trial provided Andrew with an opportunity to clear his name?
In his infamous BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Andrew categorically denied all of Giuffre’s accusations, claiming he had “no recollection of ever meeting this lady”. Mysteriously, however, he is now giving her a £12 million payout. The mind boggles.
Perhaps he genuinely had no recollection of abusing Giuffre, and the threat of a public trial miraculously jogged his memory. Occam’s razor suggests he was in fact…lying all along.
Or there is the possibility that none of this ever happened. In which case, Andrew should expect queues stretching from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square, seeing as the Royals seem to be happy to hand out millions to people with whom they apparently have no connection whatsoever.
It is beyond our purview – as loyal subjects of the Crown – to pass judgement on the innocence or guilt of our natural superiors. We will leave this to our readers to decide.
One of the most shocking details in this debacle is the sheer amount of money that will be paid out to Ms Giuffre in the settlement.
This has led many to ask an important question: Who’s paying? So far, the Royals have kept shtum.
MPs such as Labour’s Andy McDonald have been calling for the source of this settlement money to be made public. Concerns have been raised that the public purse has been used to foot the bill for Andrew’s debauchery and abuse.
At this stage, it looks unlikely that any of the money came from the Sovereign Grant – the portion of the Crown’s income that comes from the taxpayer to fund the Queen’s ‘official duties’ (whatever that means).
Indeed, poor Andrew has recently had to put his £18 million luxury Alpine chalet – his only known asset – on the market to cover the costs of this settlement.
The Duke hasn’t been completely left out to dry, however. It is understood that The Bank of Mummy has agreed to contribute £2 million towards the settlement, on the condition that none of the money goes to Giuffre herself, but to her charity for sexual abuse survivors.
But the question of whether the money came directly from the taxpayer or not is secondary. Fundamentally, all of the wealth of the monarchy – a family of feudal parasites – comes from the exploitation of the working class.
We are footing the bill for this hush money in one way or another, regardless of its source.
Monarchy in crisis
On top of a slew of recent scandals – including the ‘Megxit’ debacle, which saw Harry and Meghan ditch Royal life over racism and bullying – this baneful episode has intensified the stench emanating from the Palace.
Andrew will now live out a life of ‘ageing notoriety’; he is not expected to regain any of his royal privileges or titles. He will keep his dukedom and the Windsor home, of course. What says ‘justice’ more than a nice comfortable retirement out of the public eye.
No doubt the Queen was hoping to sweep this matter under the rug in time for her Platinum Jubilee, which offers a chance to regain any popularity that has been lost in recent years. But no amount of Union Jack bunting can hide the palace-sized elephant in the room.
The monarchy, an institution which relies upon an air of mystique and secrecy, is instead mired in scandal and sleaze – and has been for some time now. This is eating away at the public’s approval: 41% of 18-24 year-olds would now opt for an elected head of state.
With incomes being squeezed across the board, and millions facing the choice between heating and eating this winter, the undisguised privilege and depravity of the Royals feels like a slap in the face to workers.
This can only spell bad news for the Windsors. A question mark hangs over their future.
It is high time we dealt a death-blow to this decrepit, feudal relic, by fighting for a Socialist Republic in Britain and beyond.