Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre have reached a settlement. Though this was at all times a possible end result, the assertion is value probing intimately. Andrew accepts that Giuffre is a “sufferer of abuse”, and opposite to his interview with Newsnight, now “regrets his affiliation” with Jeffrey Epstein. Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a admission of legal responsibility or assertion of innocence concerning the allegations of sexual assault that Giuffre made towards him. For Andrew, these stay hanging within the air, as he has not cleared his title in courtroom.
Within the 12 months of the Queen’s platinum jubilee, that is finest end result doable for the royal household. Till the settlement was introduced, the prospect of a full trial – Andrew giving proof and a relentless drip of tales from each side – would have overshadowed occasions deliberate for later this 12 months. Now, with nearly all royal duties and quite a few titles stripped from him and his popularity in tatters, one of the best factor Andrew can do for the monarchy is keep an especially low profile.
But some questions stay. Most evident is the quantity of the settlement, the donation Andrew has promised Giuffre’s charity in help of victims’ rights, and the way each of those might be paid. Andrew and Giuffre have agreed for the quantity of the settlement to stay confidential, nevertheless it has been reported to be £12 million kilos. The query of how Andrew can afford this wants a solution. Reviews counsel that he has offered his ski chalet, apparently value £18 million, after settling a debt. The remaining proceeds will go a few of the method to fund the settlement, however the remaining will reportedly come from the Queen.
By way of the Queen’s funds, the private and non-private have lengthy been intertwined. Till 1760, the monarch personally bore the prices of presidency, primarily from revenues arising from Crown land. In 1760, George III surrendered the earnings from (what turned referred to as) the Crown Property, with parliament chargeable for elevating the income essential to satisfy the price of authorities by way of taxation.
In return, George III obtained the civil record, an annual sum paid by the Treasury to satisfy the prices of the monarchy, and retained the earnings from the Duchy of Lancaster. This can be a separate property held in belief for the monarch, which in 1760 was value little or no, and so didn’t determine on this broader association.
At the moment, the civil record has been changed by the sovereign grant. In 2020-21, the entire quantity of the core grant got here to £51.5 million. By legislation, this determine is calculated at 15% of the income of the Crown Property, and should be spent “by the royal family in help of Her Majesty’s official duties”. Clearly, this doesn’t embrace paying out-of-court settlements. There may be additionally presently an extra grant of £34.4 million to pay for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.
Prince Andrew: a authorized skilled explains the settlement with Virginia Giuffre
Individually, the Queen receives the excess from the Duchy of Lancaster property, which since 1760 has grown considerably. For 2020-21, the excess was £22.3 million. It’s not clear whether or not this must be categorised as “non-public” or “public”.
Buckingham Palace captures this confusion by stating that “earnings from the Duchy of Lancaster varieties a part of the Queen’s privy purse earnings”, a time period used to explain the Queen’s non-public earnings. “It’s largely used to satisfy official expenditure incurred by Her Majesty and different members of the royal household which isn’t met by the sovereign grant, and is taxed to the extent that the earnings will not be used for official functions.”
But reflecting its non-public nature, no extra particulars are given on how the excess from the Duchy of Lancaster is spent. Nonetheless, Prince Andrew receives a stipend from this earnings, in addition to a naval pension. Consequently, it’s doable that the Duchy of Lancaster earnings could also be spent in direction of the settlement. One other supply might be the Queen’s personal non-public financial savings and portfolio of investments, estimated to be value round £365 million.
At its core, the monarchy is an establishment which fulfils the constitutionally essential position of head of state. As such, it ought to uphold key constitutional ideas. The issue right here is that questions over the monarchy’s funds compromise its skill to satisfy expectations of transparency and accountability – ideas that different political establishments are anticipated to satisfy.
Just lately, the Queen stood out for instance when she sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral on account of COVID restrictions, for respecting the rule of legislation in a manner that these in Downing Road did not heed. The monarchy positive factors a lot of its power as an establishment from projecting these constitutional ideas.
The monarchy ought to view its subsequent steps on this context, and apply the identical readability of thought that it’s often so efficient at deploying. If Andrew isn’t going to return again as a senior royal, the monarchy ought to transfer to mirror that, in essence holding Prince Andrew accountable for ever changing into entangled with Epstein and Maxwell within the first place.
The monarchy may ask parliament to cross laws eradicating the title “prince” from Andrew, in addition to his place as a Counsellor of State and dukedom. As I’ve defined elsewhere, there are broader issues with the Regency Acts. This might be the chance to modernise, slim down the monarchy in a authorized sense, and full the preparations for the reign of King Charles III.
This will likely even be one of the best factor for Andrew. The settlement itself accommodates a curious ultimate sentence:
[Prince Andrew] pledges to exhibit his remorse for his affiliation with Epstein by supporting the battle towards the evils of intercourse trafficking, and by supporting its victims.
Shorn of all royal paraphernalia, may Andrew use his freedom as a personal citizen to do that? Because the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have discovered, not working as senior royals have allowed them to “discover their voice” by way of a wide range of completely different retailers. Though Andrew’s popularity won’t ever wholly recuperate, any probability he has of rehabilitating his standing relies on him assembly this pledge. This might be simpler to do from outdoors the royal household than from inside.
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Craig Prescott doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that may profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.