Wednesday briefing: Palace silent on Andrew settlement

<span>Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Duke in out-of-court deal with Virginia Giuffre … Biden warns Americans Ukraine war would not be ‘painless’… Jane Lynch on alcoholism

Top story: Prince states regret over Epstein association

Hello and welcome. I’m Warren Murray and this is the right place for you to be.

News of Prince Andrew’s settlement of the sex assault case filed against him by Virginia Giuffre has been met with silence by Buckingham Palace. The out-of-court settlement in the US civil case means the Duke of York makes no admission of guilt over claims by Giuffre that he sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was 17 – allegations he has repeatedly denied. There has been no official comment from the Queen, who last month sought to distance the monarchy from the fallout when she stripped Prince Andrew of his royal patronages, honorary military titles and any official use of his HRH title. US attorneys representing victims of Jeffrey Epstein hailed the settlement.

Giuffre’s lawyer had previously insisted she wanted the case heard in court and that she would be unlikely to accept a “purely financial settlement”. Andrew has now agreed to make a “substantial donation” to a charity supporting victims’ rights. He makes no admission of liability. In settlement documents submitted to a civil court in New York, Andrew commends Giuffre’s bravery and accepts that she “suffered as an established victim of abuse”. He said he regrets his association with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in a jail cell after he was arrested for sex trafficking girls. The document states that Andrew will demonstrate this “by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims”. The text further outlines how Giuffre will dismiss the case once she receives the settlement.

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Starmer hits the road – Workers are entitled to ask for a pay rise considering the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, Keir Starmer has said. The Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, called this month for wage “restraint”, warning that rises would fuel inflation. Starmer has hit back: “It’s very difficult to universally say to people – you are not entitled to even ask for a pay rise,” he said. Official figures are expected to confirm on Wednesday an inflation rate of close to 5.4% in January – the highest level in three decades.

Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy talking to an employee at What More UK&#x002019;s plastic products factory in Burnley, England
Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy talk to an employee at What More UK’s plastic products factory in Burnley, England. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

In an interview with the Guardian, Starmer has said dozens of Conservative MPs contacted him expressing dismay at Boris Johnson’s false claim he had failed to prosecute the child abuser Jimmy Savile. Starmer said the public’s verdict on Johnson and “partygate” was likely to be the same whatever the Met’s conclusion. “There aren’t many members of the public that don’t think that Boris Johnson was involved in parties,” he said, accusing Johnson of wanting to “degrade the rules and drag everybody down with it”. It is recess in parliament and Starmer is spending most of it in the north of England and the Midlands: Sunderland, Burnley, Erdington.

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Midweek catch-up

> It is likely that fewer than 10% of patients are intolerant to statins, far lower than previous estimates, according to the world’s largest study of the issue. An estimated 7-8 million adults in the UK take statins to reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes.

> The vast majority of train services in Scotland will end at 4pm today as it braces itself for the first of two storms. The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for the north of England and the central belt and south of Scotland ahead of Storm Dudley, which will be immediately followed by Storm Eunice later this week.

> Disabled children and young people should get 20 minutes of exercise each day and strength and balance activity three times a week, say the first ever physical activity guidelines released for them by the four chief medical officers in the UK.

> Downton Abbey co-stars Michelle Dockery and Michael Fox are to release a debut EP later this year. The pair, known musically as Michael and Michelle, first met on the hit period drama.

Michelle Dockery and Michael Fox
Michelle Dockery and Michael Fox. Photograph: Decca Records/PA

The Watching Silence comes out on 6 May and features four original songs with Fox and Dockery singing and on dual guitars.

> An ad by the fashion retailer Boohoo has been banned for using “sexually suggestive” images of a model in thong-style bikini bottoms – in a promotion that was actually for T-shirts. The ASA ruled it “objectified and sexualised women”.

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‘Won’t be painless’ – Members of Russia’s parliament have passed a direct appeal to Vladimir Putin to recognise the Ukrainian separatist states of Donetsk and Luhansk. The stage-managed manoeuvre unfolded on Tuesday as Putin claimed a “partial” withdrawal of Russian forces from the Ukrainian border – a claim that is being met with some expert scepticism. Putin has said he will not immediately recognise the two Russian-controlled so-called republics in Ukraine, but he is likely to wield that option as a bargaining chip as he continues to demand security guarantees from the west. Joe Biden has warned the American people he cannot “pretend this will be painless” for them if Russia invades Ukraine and they would feel it at the petrol pump. He said the US would pursue talks “as long as there is hope” for diplomacy. More at our live blog.

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Reweaving history – A monumental but fragile masterpiece depicting a 17th-century naval battle in silk and wool is the subject of an urgent crowdfunding appeal to complete its conservation. Royal Museums Greenwich needs to raise an extra £15,000 from the public in the next 28 days to save The Burning of the Royal James at the Battle of Solebay, 28 May 1672. The tapestry was commissioned by Charles II and designed by the father and son team Willem van de Velde the Elder and Younger.

It depicts the Royal James engulfed in flames with tiny figures pitching themselves into the waves to escape the blazing ship. Cherubim battling with sea monsters decorate its borders. The first phase of conservation was completed last year in Belgium. It is now with specialist conservators in the UK. The appeal is being made through Art Happens with Art Fund, a crowdfunding platform for museums and galleries.

Today in Focus podcast: Chagos challenge

Over 50 years after they were forcibly removed from their homes, the former residents of Britain’s last colony in Africa are challenging the UK’s claim to the archipelago. Lawyer Philippe Sands is advising the Mauritian government in the legal battle.

Lunchtime read: ‘The sober fairy gave me one more chance!’

The 61-year-old scene-stealer and gay icon is back! Glee’s Jane Lynch talks alcoholism, ambition and the return of Mrs Maisel.


Pep Guardiola declared Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of Sporting the “dream result” but insisted his team can play even better after they emphatically put one foot into the Champions League quarter-finals. It was not so positive for the Portuguese champions, who were outclassed in their first Champions League knockout match since 2009. Suddenly there was Kylian Mbappé once again. With 45 seconds left, just when it looked as if victory had evaded a Paris Saint-Germain side that could have won this match against Real Madrid a lot earlier and three times over, he delivered the solution that they had sought all night.

After 588 minutes of football and 47 days, the great drought is over. Cristiano Ronaldo, the scorer of more goals than anyone in the history of football, scored a goal, his first of 2022 and his first as a 37‑year‑old. It came against Brighton, and in the process a serial Champions League winner put Manchester United in the position to return to the European elite. In Beijing, at the halfway stage of the women’s Winter Olympics single skating competition, Kamila Valieva leads and goes into Thursday’s free skating programme as a huge favourite for gold. The tragedy for her is that her positive test for a banned substance means the chances of an Olympic medal around her neck hang increasingly by a sequin’s thread. Follow the action on the piste and the rinks at our live blog.


It seems that no one told City firms that the Bank of England governor thinks workers should resist more pay as part of the fight against inflation. In his own back courtyard, bankers and traders will this week start collecting the biggest bonuses since before the 2008 global financial crisis. One bar worker says the bonuses seem “particularly obscene” this year amid a run on posh champagne. City folk will also be cheering a settling of market nerves with the FTSE100 set to tick up again on better news from Ukraine. The pound is on $1.354 and €1.193.

The papers

Prince Andrew’s decision to settle his sex assault case takes precedence on most of the front pages. The Mirror says Andrew was under “intense pressure from the very top” to come to an agreement to avoid marring the Queen’s 70th Jubilee celebrations. “Andrew does £12m deal to halt sex claim”, its main headline says, in a deal done “under Queen and Charles’s orders”. The Guardian’s headline is “Prince settles Giuffre sex assault case out of court”.

The Sun’s splash headline is “His final disgrace” and it claims the deal is worth up to £12m. “Lifetime exile from royal duties”, a subhead notes. The Mail’s front page has the headline “Duke’s final ‘£10 million’ humiliation”, and above that it says that “Andrew settles with accuser in grovelling climbdown – slamming the door on a royal return for ever”. The Express has “Andrew cuts sex case deal … but there’s no way back” and puts the deal at £12m.

The Telegraph’s main story is headlined “Queen to help pay for £12m settlement”. The i has “Prince pays to settle sex assault claims” and the Metro says “Duke pays up at last”. The Times leads with “Biden doubts Russian withdrawal” but it also has the Andrew story and picture on the front: “Duke agrees payout to settle sex assault case”. The Daily Record’s splash is “Andrew’s £12m deal to stop sex claim” while the Yorkshire Post has “Duke settles case on sex assault claim”.

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