‘Where’s the money coming from?’ Prince Andrew faces calls to reveal who will fund sex assault payout

File photo dated 21/06/18 of the Duke of York and The Queen at Royal Ascot. Prince Andrew is staying with his mother the Queen in Scotland. The lawyer representing the Duke of York's accuser has warned against anyone ignoring the US courts as he claimed the royal's legal team have
It was reported that the Queen was funding Prince Andrew's legal fees in the civil sex case. (PA Images)

Prince Andrew and his accuser Virginia Giuffre have reached an out-of-court settlement in the civil sex assault claim filed in the US.

The Duke of York was set to face Giuffre in court following her allegation that she was trafficked to have sex with him by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein when she was 17 - a minor under US law.

It was widely expected the trial would be humiliating for Andrew and place the Royal Family under intense pressure during the Queen's platinum jubilee year.

However, on Tuesday, it was announced the duke has agreed to pay an "undisclosed sum" to Giuffre after the pair agreed to settle out of court.

The statement release by the court states Andrew "never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre's character" and that he "accepts she has suffered" as both a victim and from "unfair public attacks".

"Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others," it reads.

andrew virginia
Prince Andrew pictured with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts.

"He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.”

Andrew has consistently denied all allegations against him.

However, a growing number of MPs have expressed anger at the royal over his previous dismissal of Giuffre's claims. At one point, the duke accused her of procuring "slutty girls" for Epstein in court papers.

"Prince Andrew now "commends Guiffre's bravery" after he accused her of lying and dragged her name through the mud," Labour MP Nadia Whittome tweeted on Tuesday.

"This settlement isn't some act of philanthropy - it prevents this case going to court."

Whittome also called for transparency over how Andrew would foot the bill, which remains unclear.

"We must also ask: where is the money coming from?" she said.

The anti-monarchy group Republic said there remained “a lot of serious questions” after the settlement.

Graham Smith, from the campaign group, said taxpayers “deserve to know where the money is coming from for a settlement, which we must assume is in the millions, if not tens of millions”.

He said: “So much public money ends up in royal pockets one way or another. Are the British public ultimately paying for Andrew to avoid appearing in court?"

Last year, it was reported that the Queen was funding the prince's growing legal bills because he had no discernible income – and, in January, it was reported that the Duke of York had sold his £18m Swiss chalet in a bid to pay for mounting fees.

Mitchell Epner, lawyer with the New York firm Rottenberg Lipman Rich, told The Times last month that Andrew could need to spend up to $2.5m on lawyers alone before any final trial preparation.

 LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Prince Andrew The Duke of York arrives at the Headquarters of CrossRail in Canary Wharf on March 7, 2011 in London, England. Prince Andrew is under increasing pressure after a series of damaging revelations about him, including criticism over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier surfaced. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The Duke of York has agreed to pay an "undisclosed sum" to Virginia Giuffre after the pair agreed to settle out of court. Giuffre accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. (Getty Images)

Other MPs joined Whittome in their criticism of the prince, with Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts expressing anger with the royals.

"Prince Andrew has changed his tune from demanding his name be cleared by jury trial to making an undisclosed but substantial donation to victim of sexual abuse Giuffre’s charity," she said on Twitter.

"Platinum-plated ‘no comment’ from Buckingham Palace".

And Jess Phillips, Labour shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, questioned exactly how Andrew would support victims.

"How exactly is he going to support the victims of sex trafficking?" she told Yahoo News UK.

"How does he expect he will find open arms from those of us working on the subject day in day out. I’m not sure the women I work with will want his support."

She added: “I obviously support Virginia in making a decision that is best for her considering her experience."

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the development.

In January, the Queen stripped him of his prestigious honorary military titles and royal patronages, and he stopped using his HRH style, in a move that effectively cast him adrift from the institution.

One royal expert said the duke will “forever be tainted” by the sex assault claim.

Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, said: “I just don’t think he’s ever likely to resume work as a working member of the Royal Family.

"The institution of monarchy has been tainted by his association with Epstein and I just think that there’s no going back on all that.

“He will forever be tainted by this scandal.”

Watch: Duke of York and Virginia Giuffre reach out-of-court settlement in civil claim