Prince Andrew’s ex Lady Victoria Hervey calls Virginia Roberts a ‘scam artist’

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Prince Andrew’s ex-girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey has blasted Virginia Giuffre as a ‘scam artist’ hours after it emerged Andrew and his accuser had reached out-of-court settlement in New York. 

Taking to Instagram yesterday, the 44-year-old socialite and former ‘It Girl’, who is the daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol, posted: ‘She suddenly wanted to settle very fast when all the truth was coming out. Her lawyers must have panicked!’

Lady Victoria, who has sensationally claimed that the notorious photo of Prince Andrew and Virginia was faked, went on to share what appeared to be an edited version of the photo in which Ghislaine could be seen standing alone. She didn’t elaborate further but it seems she was suggesting this is what the original unedited photograph looked like.  

The notorious snap with the Duke of York, which was reportedly taken in March 2001 at Ghislaine Maxwell‘s London apartment, has been reproduced countless times around the world after Ms Giuffre – known before her marriage as Virginia Roberts – shared it with The Mail on Sunday in February 2011. 

Lady Victoria has claimed in recent weeks it was pieced together using a photo taken at Naomi Campbell’s birthday party on board a yacht in St Tropez in May 2001, in which Virginia can be seen wearing the same white tank top with colourful patterned jeans.  

Her comments came hours after Virginia claimed to have lost the original print of the famous photo of her and Prince Andrew, which could have furthered the disgraced royal’s argument that the image was doctored. 

The 44-year-old went on to share what appeared to be an edited version of the photo in which Ghislaine could be seen standing alone (pictured) 

Prince Andrew's ex-girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey has blasted Virginia Giuffre as a 'scam artist' hours after it emerged Andrew and his accuser had reached out-of-court settlement in a civil sex claim filed in New York

Prince Andrew’s ex-girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey has blasted Virginia Giuffre as a ‘scam artist’ hours after it emerged Andrew and his accuser had reached out-of-court settlement in a civil sex claim filed in New York

Elsewhere on her Instagram page, Victoria wrote: ‘The only thing she deserves is a prison cell full of rats.’

‘Time to investigate her and that missing Thai kid called JoJo.’

It’s unclear who Lady Victoria was referring to. 

Meanwhile she cruelly posted a photograph of Virginia alongside the words ‘scam artist’, writing: ‘If I aged like that I would probably want to sue GOD.’

Lady Victoria has sensationally claimed that the notorious photo of Prince Andrew and Virginia was faked

Lady Victoria has sensationally claimed that the notorious photo of Prince Andrew and Virginia was faked

Virginia Giuffre, who used to be known as Virginia Roberts, is pictured in Perth, Australia, last week on February 8

Virginia Giuffre, who used to be known as Virginia Roberts, is pictured in Perth, Australia, last week on February 8

Prince Andrew is pictured driving in Windsor on November 6 last year

Prince Andrew is pictured driving in Windsor on November 6 last year

Over the past few weeks, Lady Victoria has made a series of sensational claims about Virginia.

Earlier this month, she repeated claims that the infamous photo of Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre was fake and even identified the set of images she says were used to create the doctored photo. 

Lady Victoria does not have a copy of the exact Virginia photo from St Tropez which she claims was used to fake the Prince Andrew image, and it has never been seen publicly. However, she did share a bizarre painted reproduction of the alleged image to Instagram earlier this month. 

She added to her baffling claims by saying that an ‘Irish guy’ who was dating one of Epstein’s victims in 2001 and also attended the boat party was used as a ‘body double’ for Prince Andrew in the ‘fake’ image. 

THE TIMELINE OF THE INFAMOUS VIRGINIA GIUFFRE AND PRINCE ANDREW PHOTOGRAPH 

March 2001 – Infamous photograph of Virginia, Ghislaine and Prince Andrew is reportedly taken at Ghislaine’s home in London 

May 2001 – Naomi Campbell hosted a boat party in the French Riviera with Jeffrey Epstein, Virginia, Ghislaine Maxwell all attending 

February 2011 –  Virginia is approached by the Mail On Sunday while she was living a quiet life with her family on Australia’s Central Coast. 

She had been traced by journalist Sharon Churcher, who was investigating reports that the FBI was planning to reopen an investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers by Epstein.

At first she was reluctant to talk, not least because she harboured fears that Epstein might try to kill her.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the time, she produced the picture of Andrew from a white envelope containing a collection of photos chronicling her teenage years and travels with Epstein to New Mexico and Paris.

She explained that the picture with Andrew was taken at Ms Maxwell’s home after a visit to Tramp nightclub – a claim the Duke disputes.

She claimed the photograph was taken in March 2001, two months before the boat party in St Tropez.  

She told Churcher at the meeting that she had sex with Andrew three times while a teenager, but for legal reasons the MoS could not publish her claims, which the Duke denies.

The photographs are published by the Mail On Sunday

November 2019 – Andrew hinted that the hand around her waist may not be his. 

Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight: ‘You can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked because it’s a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.’

‘It’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph being taken…

‘That’s me but whether that’s my hand…I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken.’ 

December 2019 – Virginia told BBC Panorama that the photo is genuine and she gave the original to the FBI in 2011

February 2022 – Lady Victoria Hervey says victims of Epstein have told her  the image was photoshopped by Virginia and Maria Farmer

In an exclusive interview earlier this month, Lady Victoria told FEMAIL she has spoken to several victims of Jeffrey Epstein, who said they believe the image was edited by Virginia and Maria Farmer, another victim who worked as an ‘artist-in-residence’ for Epstein. 

She said other victims had ‘seen’ Virginia and Maria photoshopping the image, before being ‘bullied and silenced’ by Virginia. 

Lady Victoria said the pair had been in ‘cahoots’ for 20 years because they ‘wanted to bring down the monarchy using Prince Andrew’, adding that this was Epstein’s intention too. 

‘I know this sounds pretty wild – Epstein told one survivor that he basically wanted to bring down the monarchy,’ she said.

Lady Victoria Hervey said that an image taken at Naomi Campbell's birthday in 2001 in St Tropez was used to 'fake' the Prince Andrew photo, pointing out that Virginia is wearing the same outfit in both (pictured)

Lady Victoria Hervey said that an image taken at Naomi Campbell’s birthday in 2001 in St Tropez was used to ‘fake’ the Prince Andrew photo, pointing out that Virginia is wearing the same outfit in both (pictured)

Lady Victoria claimed a photograph of this unnamed man, who she said is Irish and was dating one of Epstein's victims at the time, was used as a body double for Prince Andrew

Lady Victoria claimed a photograph of this unnamed man, who she said is Irish and was dating one of Epstein’s victims at the time, was used as a body double for Prince Andrew

Lady Victoria claimed the image of Virginia was taken at the birthday boat party. The image has never been seen publicly but another of Epstein's victims has allegedly painted  an image of what the original photograph would have looked like (pictured)

Lady Victoria claimed the image of Virginia was taken at the birthday boat party. The image has never been seen publicly but another of Epstein’s victims has allegedly painted  an image of what the original photograph would have looked like (pictured)  

Meanwhile the socialite said she had passed on all of her findings to a member of Prince Andrew’s legal team, adding: ‘She’s got everything, she’s got it all. She’s got recordings and screenshots and everything.’ 

HOW LADY VICTORIA HERVEY CLAIMED VIRGINIA AND MARIA PHOTOSHOPPED THE INFAMOUS IMAGE

Lady Victoria claimed the photograph of Prince Andrew and Virginia was actually four images edited together by Virginia and Maria Farmer.

She said ‘four or five’ victims watched as the two women edited the photograph 

Here FEMAIL breaks down her accusations…

BACKGROUND

Lady Victoria claimed the image was taken of an empty hallway at the Belgravia home of Andrew’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell. 

VIRGINIA GIUFFRE 

Lady Victoria claimed the image of Virginia was taken at Naomi Campbell’s 2001 birthday boat party.

She said the original photograph showed Virginia leaning against the side of the boat while holding her coat in her right hand. 

She also pointed to evidence of this as  Virginia’s left hand as ‘looking weird’ in the photograph. 

BOAT PARTY – Images show Virginia wearing an off-white, strappy top which exposed her midriff and distinctive, multi-coloured trousers.   

THE PHOTO – The photograph shows Virginia wearing the same outfit, with her arm around Prince Andrew. 

Lady Victoria said the image has been edited so that Prince Andrew is in front of Virginia’s arm holding her coat.  

GHISLAINE MAXWELL

BOAT PARTY – Images show Ghislaine wearing a baby blue knitted jumper with short sleeves and a high roll neck, a sequin skirt. 

THE PHOTO –  The photograph show Ghislaine wearing a white knitted jumper vest with no sleeves with dark bottoms on.

PRINCE ANDREW 

Lady Virginia claimed an ‘Irish body double’ was used in place of Prince Andrew in the photograph. 

She said the man was in a relationship with one of Epstein’s victims at the time, and he was at the boat party as well. 

However she said she does not know if the image was taken at the boat party, or whether the unnamed Irish man was aware of the plot by Virginia.

Having edited the man’s body into the photograph with Virginia and Ghislaine, she then said Maria and Virginia had edited Prince Andrew’s face onto his.

She pointed to the man’s hands as evidence it was not Prince Andrew.

 

Virginia claims she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell and forced to have sex with the royal on three occasions when she was 17, claims Prince Andrew has strenuously denied.  

Virginia has previously described in legal documents how she attended the party in St Tropez to celebrate Miss Campbell’s 31st birthday in 2001.

Images from the party show Virginia in an off-white, strappy top which exposed her midriff and distinctive, multi-coloured trousers.

Meanwhile photographs also show Ghislaine from the night of the party wearing a blue knitted jumper with a knitted white and sequin skirt.

Lady Victoria said a photograph taken at the party shows Virginia leaning against the boat and holding her coat in one hand, and this is the image that was used to fake the photo with Prince Andrew. 

She believes one of the clearest signs that it has been edited is Virginia’s hand, and she said it looks slightly odd because she was actually leaning against the side of the boat in the original photo 

However, she does not have a copy of the alleged picture and it has never been seen publicly.  

However, Lady Victoria went on to claim that an Epstein victim who ‘saw’ the alleged photo and witnessed it being edited by Virginia and Maria has recreated it.  

She said: ‘One of the girls is an artist and she drew a painting of the original photograph of Virginia on the boat holding her coat.’

It was this image that Lady Victoria shared to social media earlier this month, causing a stir with her bizarre claims.  

Another victim of Epstein, Maria was the ‘artist-in-residence’ and receptionist at Epstein’s New York office in 1995 after graduating from the New York Academy of Arts and handpicked by Epstein to work for him, who was also a college donor.

She was then abused by Epstein and Maxwell on his mentor, billionaire Les Wexner’s estate in Ohio, and also ogled at by President Donald Trump, whom she claims visited Epstein at least three times while she worked there.

Lady Victoria said she was told be Epstein survivors that Ghislaine had taught Maria and Virginia how to photoshop images.  

She said the victims then saw the duo editing the infamous photograph of the Duke with Virginia using images from the birthday party. 

She said: ‘The girls were there, I guess they all lived together you know.

‘Everyone was aware – four or five of the survivors know that they [Maria and Virginia] did it and saw it.’ 

She said while the duo took a photograph of Ghislaine’s empty home, editing in the image of Victoria holding her coat on the boat.

Lady Victoria claimed they then edited Ghislaine into the image, altering her outfit by changing the colour of her top and removing the sleeves.

Meanwhile she said Maria and Virginia used the body of an Irish man who had been dating one of the other victims at the time to act as a double for Prince Andrew.

Virginia has previously described in legal documents how she attended the party in St Tropez to celebrate Miss Campbell's 31st birthday in 2001 (pictured, the party)

Virginia has previously described in legal documents how she attended the party in St Tropez to celebrate Miss Campbell’s 31st birthday in 2001 (pictured, the party)

Meanwhile Lady Victoria said Ghislaine's outfit to change the colour of her knitted top and to remove the sleeves (pictured, her outfit the night of the party)

Meanwhile Lady Victoria said the women had edited Ghislaine’s outfit to change the colour of her knitted top and to remove the sleeves (pictured, her outfit the night of the party) 

Lady Victoria posted the accusations on her Instagram stories earlier this month and suggested the image actually showed an Irish man as a body double for Prince Andrew

Lady Victoria posted the accusations on her Instagram stories earlier this month and suggested the image actually showed an Irish man as a body double for Prince Andrew  

She said the unnamed Irish man was in a relationship with one of Epstein’s victims at the time, and he was at the boat party as well. 

Full statement from both parties in Andrew’s case 

Here is the full text of the statement regarding the out of court settlement reached between the Duke of York and Virginia Giuffre. The statement was included in a letter submitted to US judge Lewis A Kaplan:

‘Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew have reached an out of court settlement. The parties will file a stipulated dismissal upon Ms Giuffre’s receipt of the settlement (the sum of which is not being disclosed). Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.

‘Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks. It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years.

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

However she said she does not know if the image was taken at the boat party, or whether the unnamed Irish man was aware of the plot by Virginia.

Having edited the man’s body into the photograph with Virginia and Ghislaine, she then said Maria and Virginia had edited Prince Andrew’s face onto his.

She pointed to both Virginia and Andrew’s hands as evidence the image had been doctored, adding: ‘Her hand and his hand looked so freaking weird.’ 

She continued: ‘They learnt how to do all of this editing by Ghislaine – I don’t know if Ghislaine and Jeffrey were in on the fake photo.’ 

Meanwhile Lady Victoria also said there had ‘never been a physical photo of that shot, it’s all digital’ and accused Virginia of telling ‘different stories’ about whether there was a copy. 

When asked about why Virginia and Maria might have been motivated to edit the photograph, Lady Victoria referred to another message from a survivor.

She said: ‘Another girl sent [me] this: “I’m the one that saw Virginia had the photo of Andrew photoshopped by Maria. 

‘They were conspiring to bring the monarchy down using Andrew.” 

Lady Victoria did not reveal which year the photograph had been edited in.

It was reported last night the Queen is to foot part of the bill for Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse lawsuit, which could end up costing some £12 million.

The humiliated Duke of York’s mother is said to be set to help fund the settlement, which was agreed between lawyers in a sensational development on Tuesday.

The move is understood to be a bid to draw a line under the scandal before her much-anticipated Jubilee celebrations latter this year, which he will apparently be banned from attending.

It comes just weeks after Andrew vowed to contest Virginia Roberts’ rape claims at a public trial. Miss Roberts had alleged she was forced to have sex with the duke three times when she was 17 under the orders of the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Only last month, she was given the go-ahead to sue Andrew, 61, for unspecified damages in a New York civil court.

But despite vowing to fight the allegations and repeatedly protesting his innocence, the prince yesterday agreed to pay a huge sum to settle the case before it ever reaches a jury. 

It comes as reports suggest the Queen herself will provide money to pay for the settlement, according to the Telegraph.

The paper suggests the total amount that the victim and her charity will receive will actually exceed £12m, with the funds coming from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate, which recently increased by £1.5m to more than £23m.

Although the agreement contained no formal admission of liability from Andrew, or an apology, it said he now accepted Miss Roberts was a ‘victim of abuse’ and that he regretted his association with Epstein, the disgraced financier who trafficked countless young girls.

It also said the prince accepted that Miss Roberts, now 38, had been subjected to ‘unfair public attacks’ and that he had never intended to ‘malign her character’.

This is despite a string of recent aggressive accusations made by his legal team that included referencing a story which branded Miss Roberts a ‘money-hungry sex kitten’.

It is understood that Andrew will now hand a large sum of cash to Miss Roberts and he has also agreed to make a ‘substantial donation’ to her charity in support of victims’ rights.

Although the terms of the deal remain a closely guarded secret, sources indicated the settlement itself could cost Andrew as much as £7.5 million ($10 million) – with several million pounds worth of legal fees taking the potential cost of the case to the prince to around the £10 million mark.

Miss Roberts – who brought the lawsuit under her married name Virginia Giuffre – launched her legal action against Andrew in August, seeking unspecified damages for battery, including rape, and the infliction of emotional distress. The Daily Mail can reveal that negotiations on a settlement have secretly been taking place since last month when a US judge refused to throw Miss Roberts’ case out.

But her legal team were said to be surprised at the suddenness of Andrew’s capitulation, with things taking a dramatic turn in recent days.

The prince, who was stripped of his remaining patronages earlier this year, has faced pressure from senior royals to resolve the lawsuit ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee later this year.

And while last night Buckingham Palace was said to be breathing a sigh of relief that the case will not go to trial, senior royal sources indicated there was now no way back to public life for the disgraced duke.

One said: ‘Regardless of the outcome, he has ruled himself out of any public role by virtue of his appalling lack of judgment and poor choice of friends and associates.’

Lady Victoria Hervey and Prince Andrew pictured in 2002 at a party in London to celebrate Chinese New Year

Lady Victoria Hervey and Prince Andrew pictured in 2002 at a party in London to celebrate Chinese New Year

Lady Victoria Hervey and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured in Hollywood on February 25, 2004

Lady Victoria Hervey and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured in Hollywood on February 25, 2004 

However, the scandal will continue to hang over the Royal Family into next year, experts claimed today.

The Queen is expected to foot part of the bill for her son’s settlement in a bid to draw a line under it before her much-anticipated Platinum Jubilee celebrations this summer. But there is anger at how the Queen, 95, has effectively been forced to bail out the ‘disgraced’ Duke of York, 61, whose modest pension from his time in the Royal Navy is now his only visible income – amid calls for the public to be told who is financing the deal.

Sources also pointed out that while there will now be a ‘period of silence’ during the Jubilee celebrations when both parties will have to stick to the terms of yesterday’s carefully-worded statement, Mrs Giuffre would then not be stopped from writing a lucrative book telling her story which could hit the shelves in time for Christmas.

Andrew’s civil case: What was alleged and what has been agreed? 

The Duke of York and Virginia Giuffre have reached an out-of-court settlement in the civil case filed in the US. Here is what was alleged against Andrew and what has happened up until this point:

– Who is Virginia Giuffre?  Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, alleges she was trafficked by disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell to be molested by financier Jeffrey Epstein and his friends.

– What case did Andrew face?  Mrs Giuffre brought a case of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the duke. It was claimed she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Epstein and others to Andrew, who is alleged to have sexually abused her when she was under the age of 18.

– How many allegations did the duke face? Court documents have referenced three separate occasions in which Mrs Giuffre accuses him of sexual misconduct.

– Where is the alleged sexual abuse said to have taken place?  Mrs Giuffre claimed Andrew had sex with her against her will at Maxwell’s London home. She also alleged the royal forced her to engage in sex acts against her will at Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The duke is also alleged to have sexually abused Mrs Giuffre on another occasion during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James.

– What reasons has Andrew previously given for the case against him to be dismissed?  In January, the duke submitted 11 reasons why the case should be dismissed, including that Mrs Giuffre’s claims are ‘barred by the doctrine of consent’ and by ‘her own wrongful conduct’.

– Will Andrew have to face a civil trial?  Now the case has settled out of court, the duke will not have to face a trial.

– What happens now a settlement has been reached?  The parties have said they will file a ‘stipulation of dismissal’ within 30 days, meaning they will file a notice to discontinue the case now it has been settled. Before the stipulation is filed, the parties have asked for all deadlines and court action to be suspended.

– What do we know about the details of the agreement reached between Andrew and Mrs Giuffre?  The sum of the settlement has not been disclosed but the duke will make a ‘substantial donation’ to Mrs Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights. He has also pledged to ‘demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein’ by supporting the ‘fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.’

– Will the substantial charity donation be made from Andrew’s own private money?  Representatives of the duke declined to comment on the source of funds for the donation.

– What have both sides said about the settlement?Andrew’s representatives said they would not be commenting further than what was said in the court documents. David Boies, the lawyer acting on behalf of Mrs Giuffre, said: ‘I believe this event speaks for itself.’

Prince Charles was said to have been supported by the Queen in making it clear to Andrew that he had no choice but to settle with Mrs Giuffre, with one source telling MailOnline that Charles had ‘had enough of the situation’ and ‘would have said to Andrew that he needed to get this sorted out as soon as possible’.

A senior Royal Household member told the Standard that Charles and the Queen ‘could not countenance another disastrous appearance by the Duke of York, in light of his BBC interview’, adding: ‘Decisive action was needed. There was little choice. He had to see sense.’

While Andrew is thought to be holed up at his Royal Lodge home in Windsor today, on the other side of the world a box of beers and a bouquet of flowers were being delivered to Mrs Giuffre and her husband Robert’s home in Perth, Australia. And her father Sky Roberts told the Sun: ‘I knew he would settle out of court. That was a complete bluff. I think Virginia will be happy.’

Meanwhile, despite the settlement, it is feared that the scandal could still overshadow poignant Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the UK in the coming months. Also today, the Metropolitan Police said they have no plans to reopen their own probe into Andrew despite calls for officers to re-examine evidence after the deal.

Royal author Angela Levin told Sky News today: ‘I think that the Queen would have given him a big telling off and said ‘I can’t have this hanging over me for the rest of the year – I don’t want you to spoil my Platinum Jubilee. I’m the only royal who’s lasted 70 years on the throne, and you’ve got to sort it out’.’

She added: ‘I admire the Queen hugely as everybody does, and I don’t want it to spoil anything for her, but I still think this is hanging over the country and the Royal Family and is going to go right through to the end of the year and maybe into next year, and there’s no real way of cutting it off. Obviously that (a ban on Mrs Giuffre saying anything) was something that they could have put in the agreement and they haven’t, and so it implies that there’s a lot she (Mrs Giuffre) wants to say that Andrew will not want to hear.’

The settlement, which was agreed between lawyers in a sensational development yesterday, comes just weeks after Andrew vowed to contest the rape claims by Mrs Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, at a public trial.

Mrs Giuffre had alleged she was forced to have sex with the duke three times when she was 17 under the orders of the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. Only last month, she was given the go-ahead to sue Andrew for unspecified damages in a New York civil court. But despite vowing to fight the claims and repeatedly protesting his innocence, the prince yesterday agreed to pay a huge sum to settle the case before it ever reaches a jury.

It has been suggested that the Queen has used her private income to help Andrew with his legal bills, and the Daily Telegraph reported that she would contribute to the settlement using income from her private Duchy of Lancaster estate. However, Buckingham Palace would not comment on the claim – and courtiers have tried to distance the monarch from the US court case. The Telegraph reported that the total amount that the victim and her charity will receive will actually exceed £12million, with the funds coming from the Duchy of Lancaster estate, which recently increased by £1.5million to more than £23million.

Andrew has been dogged by questions over the source of his wealth for years, and he is believed to have relied on handouts from the Queen, personal investments and bequests from family members such as the Queen Mother.

Graham Smith, from anti-monarchy campaign group Republic, insisted that 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’.

One source of Andrew’s income may be the sale of Sunninghill Park, the 12-bedroom country house near Windsor which was a wedding gift from the Queen. The vast property went unsold for five years before it was suddenly bought in 2007 for £15 million – £3million over the asking price – by Timur Kulibayev, son-in-law of Andrew’s friend Nursultan Nazarbayev, the former autocratic ruler of Kazakhstan.

Andrew now lives in Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, the former home of the Queen Mother, on a preferential but undisclosed 100-year lease from the Crown Estate. He and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson share the sprawling grade II-listed house but could move out to minimise costs, although it would not bring them any extra income.

Beers are delivered to Virginia and Robert Giuffre's home in Perth, Australia, today after the settlement was reached

Beers are delivered to Virginia and Robert Giuffre’s home in Perth, Australia, today after the settlement was reached

A man delivers flowers to the home of Virginia and Robert Giuffre

A man delivers flowers to the home of Virginia and Robert Giuffre

A man delivers flowers to the home of Virginia and Robert Giuffre in Perth, Australia, today after the deal was announced

The Yorks bought an £18million ski chalet in the Swiss resort of Verbier in 2014 but put it on the market following a legal dispute with its former owner. French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre took legal action after a final £5 million instalment on Chalet Helora was not paid, but said the debt was settled last year, clearing the way for it to be sold. It was put on the market for around £18million, but it was not clear how much of the £13million mortgage remains.

New woe for Royals: Met Police launches ‘cash for honours’ investigation into Charles’ charity

Prince Charles‘ former right hand man was today at the centre of a Metropolitan Police ‘cash for honours’ probe into how a Saudi billionaire donor got a knighthood and UK citizenship.

Michael Fawcett, for years a trusted ally of Charles, stepped down in October amid claims he promised to help secure a CBE and British citizenship for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz – a donor to the Prince’s Foundation. 

It was alleged that he paid thousands of pounds to ‘fixers’ with links to the prince who said they could secure him an honour in return for donations.

Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, pictured meeting Prince Charles, is one of Britain's most generous benefactors

Dr Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, pictured meeting Prince Charles, is one of Britain’s most generous benefactors

The criminal investigation piles more pressure onto the Queen on what should have been one of the proudest years of her reign.

Now after a Met special advisory team has assessed documents the force has launched an investigation into the Fawcett allegations of offences under the Honours Act.

Mr Fawcett (pictured) allegedly helped fix a CBE for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz

Mr Fawcett (pictured) allegedly helped fix a CBE for Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz

It said it had acted after receiving a letter in September – believed to be from former Lib Dem MP Norman Baker – urging them to look into the claims. 

Clarence House today stressed Charles had ‘no knowledge’ on allegations of offers of honours ‘on the basis of donation to his charities’.

The Prince’s spokespeople have previously said he would ‘of course’ be willing to assist any enquiry from the authorities. 

The Metropolitan Police dropped its investigation into Andrew last October, saying they would take ‘no further action’ – but the latest development raises questions over whether he could still be quizzed, while FBI officials in the US also still want to talk to him as a witness to Epstein and his accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell’s crimes.

Among those renewing calls for the case to be reopened is Nigel Cawthorne, Andrew’s biographer, who told Newsweek: ‘There should be a police investigation into Prince Andrew. There are a couple of outstanding matters. One is that the US Department of Justice has asked the British Government for their co-operation in interviewing Prince Andrew. The other is whether the new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police will investigate this matter.’

He added: ‘There’s no mention of how much money is involved or where he’s going to get it from. He’s not a wealthy man. As taxpayers we have the right to know. We want to know, is it coming out of my pocket?’

And former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt tweeted: ‘With the Giuffre case settled, Prince Andrew can now focus on talking to the FBI about his friend Epstein – 818 days after he first promised to do so.’

MailOnline asked the Metropolitan Police whether they would now reopen the investigation following yesterday’s settlement, but a spokesman said today: ‘There is no change to our previous position.’

Royal expert Omid Scobie, who is the closest reporter to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, said: ‘In the end, Andrew took accountability for nothing. Instead, he did what only the privileged elite get to do: bought his way out. In the process, he took advantage of his elderly mother’s love (and cheque book) during a year her children should only be lifting her up. A disgrace.’ 

Another royal commentator, Adam Helliker, told the Sun that people will probably take offence to the Queen bailing out her son’s settlement costs, adding: ‘No one has that kind of money but his mother. Andrew is not close enough to the Prince of Wales for him to fund that kind of money. He doesn’t have any income.’

And media lawyer Mark Stephens told BBC News: ‘One of the key things that I think will have to be clarified by Prince Andrew’s camp is the fact that he’s paid this from his own resources.’

He added: ‘Essentially he’s managed to effectively immunise the wider Royal Family and more particularly his daughters against this court hearing. But he himself has metaphorically been consigned to an unheated tower at Balmoral never to wave from a royal balcony ever again.’  Mr Stephens said: ‘If you look at his net worth, he’s had to sell a house in order to fund this, and so I think that (£12million) does look at about the right number.’

Meanwhile Mrs Giuffre will be banned from speaking publicly about her claims against Andrew until after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations under the terms of her settlement with the Duke.  

Sources told the Times there would be a ‘period of silence’ when both parties would have to stick to the terms of a carefully worded statement. Beyond the Jubilee celebrations however, Mrs Giuffre is expected to be allowed to public a book telling her story at the end of the year if she wishes to do so.

‘Ordinarily, you would have a complete non-disclosure [agreement] on both sides,’ lawyer Mitchell Epner told the Times. He added: ‘Since it’s a settlement in the context of, on its face, an apology from Prince Andrew,’ [he believes Mrs Giuffre] ‘has agreed not to say anything [but] she will be in a position to write a book, probably for this Christmas season’. 

Although the agreement contained no formal admission of liability from Andrew, or an apology, it said he now accepted Mrs Giuffre was a ‘victim of abuse’ and that he regretted his association with Epstein, the disgraced financier who trafficked countless young girls.

It also said the prince accepted that Mrs Giuffre, now 38, had been subjected to ‘unfair public attacks’ and that he had never intended to ‘malign her character’.

This is despite a string of recent aggressive accusations made by his legal team that included referencing a story which branded Mrs Giuffre a ‘money-hungry sex kitten’.

It is understood that Andrew will now hand a large sum of cash to Mrs Giuffre and he has also agreed to make a ‘substantial donation’ to her charity in support of victims’ rights. 

Mrs Giuffre – who brought the lawsuit under her married name Virginia Giuffre – launched her legal action against Andrew in August, seeking unspecified damages for battery, including rape, and the infliction of emotional distress. The Daily Mail can reveal that negotiations on a settlement have secretly been taking place since last month when a US judge refused to throw Miss Roberts’ case out.

But her legal team were said to be surprised at the suddenness of Andrew’s capitulation, with things taking a dramatic turn in recent days.

Andrew should disappear for good: Duke’s ex-Navy commander joins calls for ‘rogue element’ to never return as working royal 

Prince Andrew has been bombarded with demands to quietly retire in private and ‘stay out of the public eye’ after his reputation took an ‘irreparable’ battering from Virginia Giuffre‘s rape claims.

The Duke of York was urged to surrender any notions of a royal return and ‘move on’ by friends and former colleagues because he has ‘forever been tainted’ by the dramatic scandal that plunged the monarchy into crisis. 

The 61-year-old needs to ‘draw a line under this episode’ and ‘surround himself with better friends’ after making ‘some bad choices’ such as his friendship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, they warned.

Navy top brass were among those calling on Andrew to keep out of the limelight in the wake of the bombshell allegations and settlement with his accuser – and now ‘enjoy essentially what is a very good privileged lifestyle’.

On Newsnight his former Naval Commander Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry pressed him to ‘remember some of the things that we remember him for, for his earlier days’ before he left military service and the damaging claims against him emerged.

Meanwhile royal experts said there will be no ‘return to the fold’ for the embattled Duke – who was stripped of all his military roles and patronages earlier this year – and he should ‘disappear for a year’.

The commentators said they were sure Prince Charles will ram home the importance of ‘keeping a very low profile’ until the furore over the New York court saga dies down.

But Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell does not want to let him off that easy as she renewed her calls for him to be stripped of his dukedom named after the city.

She repeated a call made last month, saying the Prince should give up the association out of respect for the people who live there.

Leading lawyers suggested the court of public opinion will have already drawn its own conclusions about the damaging accusations made against him and remember them for ‘many, many years to come’.

The prince, who was stripped of his remaining patronages earlier this year, has faced pressure from senior royals to resolve the lawsuit ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee later this year. And while last night Buckingham Palace was said to be breathing a sigh of relief that the case will not go to trial, senior royal sources indicated there was now no way back to public life for the disgraced duke.

One said: ‘Regardless of the outcome, he has ruled himself out of any public role by virtue of his appalling lack of judgment and poor choice of friends and associates.’

One other woman, Johanna Sjoberg, was revealed in 2019 to have accused Andrew of sexual misconduct when court papers in a 2015 defamation case involving Mrs Giuffre were unsealed. She alleged he grabbed her breast in 2001 at the New York home of Epstein – something Buckingham Palace said at the time was ‘categorically untrue’. There has been no indication that she may take legal action against Andrew. 

Meanwhile Labour MP Rachael Maskell, who represents York Central, said the Duke of York must withdraw his title to show ‘respect’ for people living in York in light of the settlement, adding that he had caused ‘deep hurt and embarrassment’ to residents of the city. 

She said: ‘It is to be welcomed that he has now pledged to support the fight against the evils of sex trafficking and its victims. To demonstrate his seriousness in this endeavour, and his respect for those affected by abuse and the people of our city, I would ask that his first act of contrition is to confirm his support for the withdrawal of his ducal title.’

There will also be fresh light thrown on the issue of the Queen’s Counsellors of State – members of the Royal Family who stand in for her if she is unable to meet her duties as sovereign because she is unwell.

By law, they include the sovereign’s spouse and the next four people in the line of succession who are over the age of 21 – which at the moment means Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry.

If the Queen falls ill and Charles and William are both out of the country or also ill, these duties would be passed to Andrew or Harry, which would be deeply embarrassing given that both are no longer involved in active royal life. 

The newly-announced agreement contained no restatement of Andrew’s previous denials of having had sex with Mrs Giuffre and the settlement means the prince will not have the chance to disprove her claims in court.

It comes just over a month after another of Epstein’s victims exclusively told the Mail that Mrs Giuffre had admitted to her that she had slept with the prince in London in 2001.

Last night, Mrs Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies said: ‘It’s a really great day. Virginia was thrilled when we told her the terms. This has all come about over the past couple of days, it’s been quite quick. I am not sure what changed from his side. I thought that this should have been settled when we brought the lawsuit.

‘That’s basically the end of the case. She will get paid the money in 30 days’ time. I cannot comment on the amount or the terms, but it’s a good day.’

Mr Boies had agreed to take on the case pro bono but it is unclear if he will still seek to recoup some of his legal costs from the duke.

A source who is familiar with the case said: ‘Andrew moved so far, so fast from his position of deny, deny, deny. There were a lot of things looming for him.

A joint statement issued yesterday by Virginia Giuffre's lawyer, David Boies, and Prince Andrew's lawyer, Andrew Brettler

A joint statement issued yesterday by Virginia Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, and Prince Andrew’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler

‘Things were starting to come out and Andrew knew what the case was against him.

‘It’s a princely amount, a very, very substantial amount of money split into two buckets: the settlement itself and the donation.’

Rachel Fiset, a senior partner at law firm Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman who specialises in defending white collar crime cases, suggested the total figure could be even higher than many others predict.

‘A settlement that would cover Andrew’s legal fees to take this case to trial alone, would be well into the millions,’ she said. 

‘When you couple the price of litigation on both sides with the risk of embarrassing facts coming out for Andrew and a potential jury loss relating to the sexual assault of a minor by a Prince, the settlement amount is likely very high. My best guess puts the settlement amount somewhere between 20 and 30 million dollars.’ 

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