Prince Andrew told to stay out of public eye as his reputation 'damaged beyond repair'

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The Duke of York has reached an agreement with Virginia Giuffre to settle in principle the civil sexual assault case brought against him in the US. Ms Giuffre launched a civil legal case against Prince Andrew in New York, alleging that the royal sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was 17 and an allaged sex trafficking victim of convicted paeodphile Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has always denied the allegations. The case was set to go to a full trial later this year, but has now been settled in principle.

A statement in the letter to US judge Lewis A Kaplan, said the Duke would make a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”.

It added that Prince Andrew had “never intended to malign Ms Giuffre’s character” and that he recognised she had “suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks”.

Andrew 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”.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies told the PA News agency: “I believe this event speaks for itself.”

The scrutiny on Andrew in recent years has led to fears within the Royal Family that the institution’s reputation could be damaged.

In January, various PR experts gave their views on how the allegations made against the Duke of York will impact both Andrew and the Royal Family.

Simon Wadsworth, managing partner at Igniyte, a company which specialises in reputation management, told the Daily Mail that Andrew “may be best to stay out of the public eye for the foreseeable future.”

He added: “This has damaged the rest of the Royal Family by association. It’s difficult for them to control the narrative, so hard for them to influence public opinion.

“The option of keeping him in a low profile looks to be increasingly difficult when this goes to a hearing.”

Reputation specialist Amber Melville-Brown, a partner at international law firm Withers, claimed that there appeared to be little hope of salvaging Andrew’s reputation “in the court of public opinion”.

She added: “Prince Andrew’s reputation has likely been damaged beyond repair. The accusations levelled at him personally also tarnish the monarchy by association – but not irretrievably as in his case.

“The monarchy is not just a family, it is an institution. As the Queen celebrates an impressive 70 years on the throne, the monarchy has survived for an impressive thousand years.

READ MORE: Inside Prince Andrew’s £17m Swiss ski chalet he shares with Fergie

“The brand is too robust to fail as a result of accusations levelled at individual members, and the ship will plough on despite there being one man overboard.”

Alex McCready, Head of Reputation & Privacy at Vardags, a leading international law firm, echoed this: “It is very difficult to see a situation where his reputation can be repaired or him ever having a public role again.

“It’s all about damage mitigation now, particularly in light of the nature of the allegations that he is facing and his status as a member of our Royal Family.

“Whatever happens, Prince Andrew’s reputation has suffered terrible damage from the allegations in this lawsuit and from his former friendship with Epstein and Maxwell ‒ two convicted sex offenders.”

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Reports in recent months have claimed Andrew had remained bullish that he could once again return to public life despite the damage caused by the allegations made against him.

However, Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl reported in January that the Duke of York will be kept away from the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

One source told the royal correspondent that the prince “is going to disappear from sight.”

Speaking to Insider, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said it is no surprise Andrew no longer has a place in the upcoming Jubilee celebrations.

He said: “He has no place in Royal Family public celebrations. The Royal Family have basically made it clear that he has been an embarrassment for too long. There are simply too many problems there.”



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