One rule for us, one rule for royals

Why Prince Andrew’s ability to dodge justice is simply unforgivable

Prince Andrew has settled Virginia Giuffre’s court case against him to shirk all responsibility and rid the royals from any more distress.

Giuffre accused him of sexually assaulting her three times when she was 17, claims he has continuously denied. In his Newsnight interview that we all cringed over, he even denied ever having met Giuffre, hinting that the photo broadcasted of the pair was merely the work of photoshop.

It would seem like a lot of tears, but no sweat has gone into this case, as Andrew gets off scot-free after a quick reach into his wallet. This is yet another example of our deeply flawed approach to justice. Granted, the case is occurring in the U.S., but we have failed to take more meaningful action when it comes to this royal.

Currently, the exact settlement fee is undisclosed, however, Andrew’s lawyers have explicitly told the media that he will end up facing costs of over $10m (and that’s not including his personal legal bills).

Last month it was announced that the Queen had decided to strip Andrew of his HRH title and military affiliations – which appeared to mean he would have to face justice like any other person. But why weren’t his assets taken away? After all, isn’t money a privilege? Frankly, losing a few titles is irrelevant if he can still afford to pay people off.

A piece in The Guardian on the matter revealed that a big reason for this settlement is to protect the royals from further damage to their reputation – but doesn’t the cowardice of paying someone off completely contradict this?

Not only does it reek of guilt but placing a monetary value on sex crimes is highly dangerous. It suggests that crimes of this nature can simply be erased with something as trivial as money, which could not be further from the truth for the victim.

Undoubtedly, all eyes will now be on Giuffre for accepting the settlement – but if this happens, it’s wrong. Why should this woman have to go through even more suffering, with this story being plastered everywhere, for the whole world to comment and pass judgment on? Victims of any such crime or behaviour know that the constant resurfacing of the trauma is sometimes worse than the act itself. Ultimately, she is up against the threat of power and money and the two are near impossible to compete with as a normal citizen.

I’ve seen a lot in the news about this action being to “spare him the humiliation”, but of what exactly? Having to face the law like everyone else? It seems wildly unjust that he should get to be spared when others faced with similar allegations are made to face the music.

Another issue is that in settling this amount, he must prove to an already distrusting public that this proposed settlement does not include a penny of taxpayers’ money. Given how the royals are funded, this is going to be a difficult task to achieve.

To top it all off, his apparent intention to show his regret for victims of sex trafficking comes a day late and a dollar short. They say that knowing something bad is happening and failing to stop it means you’re no better than the perpetrator – so why does this logic not apply here? Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s gaggle of high-profile acquaintances (most famously Donald Trump and Bill Clinton) would have had to be both blind and deaf not to have at least known about what was going on. Their sheer long-term involvement with Epstein should be enough for all of them to see their day in court.

The bottom line is that Andrew hasn’t faced the justice system in a fair and proper way, because of who he is and the money he has. And this isn’t right.

Of course, we feel sorry for the Queen. No one is doubting the unwanted grief that this scandal will have brought to her and her family. But our pity for the Queen must not overshadow what Andrew has done.

At the end of the day, everyone knew of Andrew’s proximity to Epstein, and no one was prepared to acknowledge or accept what that meant. You are judged by the company you keep, and his was nothing short of abysmal.

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