Speaking to Robert Peston on Wednesday night, the 61-year-old Labour leader accepted that Prince Andrew has done a lot of damage to the reputation of the monarchy. On Tuesday, Prince Andrew settled a civil sexual assault case brought against him in the US by Virginia Giuffre.
Ms Giuffre had been suing the Duke of York, claiming he sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was 17.
The royal has vehemently denied these claims.
Ms Thornberry said: “I think he has done a lot of damage to the monarchy, without a doubt. I pity the Queen.
“She is a very very elderly lady and having to deal with this and the death of her husband this year, must be so traumatic.
“I am more concerned about the direct family impact it will have.”
A letter filed to the US district court on Tuesday said the Duke and Ms Giuffre had reached an out-of-court settlement.
It said the Duke, who makes no admission of liability, would pay an undisclosed sum to Ms Giuffre.
In a letter to US judge Lewis A Kaplan, Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies wrote jointly with Prince Andrew’s lawyers to say the pair had reached “a settlement in principle”.
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Prince Andrew, the statement added, had “never intended to malign Ms Giuffre’s character” and he recognised she had “suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks”.
The Duke also pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association” with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”.
He also commended the “bravery of Ms Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others”.