File photo of Prince Andrew Photograph:( Reuters )
Prince Andrew has reached out-of-court settlement with his accuser Virginia Giuffre. This has spared him the ignominy of a trial
Prince Andrew, the disgraced British royal is fast becoming a lightning rod of nation's anger after reportedly settling Virginia Giuffre sexual assault lawsuit for a huge sum of 12 million pounds ($16.3 million, 14.3 million euros).
Virginia Giuffre had said that she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law, after meeting him through the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in prison while awaiting trial for sex crimes.
Giuffre's lawyer revealed on Tuesday that both parties had settled out of court. This has spared Andrew the humiliation of a trial. Details of the settlement were not revealed.
The prince has not been criminally charged and has denied the allegations.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Andrew was to pay £10 million to Giuffre and £2 million to a charity for victims of sex trafficking.
His team told AFP they would not comment on the contents of the deal.
The huge settlement has raised questions about who is footing the bill. The Telegraph has reported that the settlement amount would come from one of the private estates belonging to his mother Queen Elizabeth II.
The scandal has threatened to overshadow the queen's Platinum Jubilee this year, marking her 70 years on the throne. Any jury trial could have coincided with nationwide jubilee celebrations due to take place in the summer.
But British media said the prince was now "finished", and called on him to withdraw entirely from public life, after he was already stripped of his honorary military ranks and the title of "His Royal Highness".
"A man truly determined to clear his name of such heinous allegations would have fought tooth and nail... and then, if he won, tried to rebuild his life," said an editorial in The Sun.
"That is all over. Andrew is finished -- undone by his insufferable arrogance, entitlement and staggering naivety.
"He must retreat entirely from public life and live out his retirement in ignominy," it added.
British commentators also ridiculed Andrew for claiming he had never met Giuffre, querying why he had agreed in that case to settle for such an apparently large amount, and pointing to a photograph of the pair together when she was 17.
His lawyers had questioned the authenticity of the photo, which also showed socialite and Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
Others called for transparency on where the settlement money is coming from, whether from the queen's private income or from official sources effectively backed by British taxpayers.
(With inputs from agencies)