From Newsnight to sex case settlement: Key events in the Duke of York’s downfall

Details of the agreement reached with Andrew’s accuser have not been given but it is widely reported he will pay a multimillion-pound sum.

16 February 2022

The Duke of York is thought to be unlikely to return to public royal life after a civil sex assault case that ended in a reported eight-figure settlement is said to leave him tainted.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the significant events since his disastrous Newsnight interview just over two years ago.

– November 16 2019

Andrew’s Newsnight interview is aired. In it, he says he does not regret his friendship with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, insisting it had some “seriously beneficial outcomes”.

Andrew's comments during his Newsnight interview were widely criticised (Mark Harrison/BBC/PA)
Andrew’s comments during his Newsnight interview were widely criticised (Mark Harrison/BBC/PA)

The television sit-down was seen as the royal’s attempt to draw a line under his controversial relationship with the disgraced financier, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges.

But it is widely criticised and dubbed a “car crash”, with commentators questioning Andrew’s responses and condemning his unsympathetic tone for victims and seeming lack of remorse over the friendship.

– November 20 2019

It is announced that the Queen has given permission for Andrew to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future” amid criticism over his relationship with Epstein.

In a statement, Andrew says he is willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency, and expresses sympathy with Epstein’s victims.

Andrew's accuser Virginia Giuffre urged him to 'do the right thing' (Crime+Investigation/PA)
Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre urged him to ‘do the right thing’ by talking to the FBI (Crime+Investigation/PA)

– December 2019

Andrew’s accuser Virginia Giuffre implores the British public to “stand up beside me to help me fight this fight” and “not accept this as being OK”, in clips released ahead of a BBC Panorama interview.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with Andrew when she was a teenager, which the duke categorically denies.

– January 2020

A US prosecutor claims Andrew has “provided zero co-operation” over the Epstein sex trafficking inquiry.

Speaking at a news conference outside Epstein’s New York mansion, US attorney Geoffrey Berman said Andrew’s lawyers had been contacted by prosecutors and the FBI who requested to interview him as part of the investigation.

The US Department of Justice released a picture of (left-right) the Duke of York, Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell (US Department of Justice/PA)
The US department of justice released a picture of the Duke of York, left to right, Virginia Giuffre and Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell (US Department of Justice/PA)

Ms Giuffre, writing on social media a few days later, urges Andrew to “do the right thing” and talk to FBI investigators.

– June 8 2020

The Duke of York has offered to assist the US department of justice “on at least three occasions this year” in its investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, a statement from Andrew’s lawyers said.

But just a few hours later, prosecutor Mr Berman – who is leading the investigation into Epstein – said Andrew had “yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate” although he “has repeatedly declined” requests to schedule an interview.

– August 2021

Ms Giuffre starts legal action against Andrew, saying it was “past the time for him to be held to account” for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed a civil suit seeking unspecified damages at a federal court in New York, where documents claim she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Epstein, including while she was still a minor under US law.

Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted in the US of helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls (US Department of Justice/PA)Maxwell court case
British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, right, was convicted in the US of helping Epstein, left, sexually abuse teenage girls (US department of justice/PA)

Andrew is named as the only defendant in the 15-page suit, brought under New York state’s Child Victims Act, though Epstein and his former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell are mentioned frequently throughout.

– December 29 2021

British socialite Maxwell is convicted in a New York court of helping Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

– January 12 2022

A US judge rules the civil case against Andrew can go ahead, in what is a huge blow for the royal whose lawyer had argued that it should be thrown out.

– January 13 2022

Andrew’s status as a member of the royal family is left in tatters after the Queen strips him of his honorary military roles and he gives up his HRH style in a dramatic fallout from his civil sex case.

The royal, who was born an HRH, will no longer use it in any official capacity, and is also stripped of his remaining royal patronages.

Andrew was stripped of his honorary military roles in January 2022 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Andrew was stripped of his honorary military roles in January 2022 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The development comes after more than 150 veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand the duke’s removal from the honorary military positions.

Buckingham Palace says in a statement that Andrew “will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen”.

– February 15 2022

Court documents show Andrew and Ms Giuffre have reached a “settlement in principle” in the civil sex claim.

The documents show Andrew will make a “substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights”, and has pledged to “demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein” by supporting the “fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”.

Court documents were published in February showing a settlement has been reached between Andrew and his accuser (BSF/PA)
Court documents were published in February showing that a settlement had been reached between Andrew and his accuser (BSF/PA)

Commentators say that while he “at last” appears to have got the tone and language right, it is unlikely he will ever return to public royal life, with one branding him “reputationally toast”.

Calls are renewed for him to lose his dukedom.

Details of the settlement are not given but it is widely reported Andrew will pay a multimillion-pound sum, with speculation that part of that could come from the Queen’s private wealth.

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