Drop the Duke of York title: Andrew must ‘show his respect for those affected by abuse’, the city’s MP demands
- Labour’s Rachael Maskell has called on Prince Andrew to withdraw his title
- She said his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein had caused ‘deep hurt’ to residents
- Comes after Prince Andrew settled sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre
Prince Andrew must withdraw his Duke of York title to show ‘respect’ for the people of York, a local MP has said.
Labour’s Rachael Maskell, who represents York Central, has called on the royal to remove his association with the city in light of the settlement in his civil sex case brought by Virginia Giuffre.
Ms Maskell welcomed the Duke of York’s pledge to donate money to Mrs Giuffre’s charity which supports victims’ rights, but said his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein had caused ‘deep hurt and embarrassment’ to York residents.
The MP’s calls comes after Prince Andrew today settled the sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre after he agreed an undisclosed deal said to be worth £7.5million with his accuser without admitting her accusations.
Labour’s Rachael Maskell has called on Prince Andrew to remove his association with the city of York
Rachael Maskell, who represents York Central, said the royal’s relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein had caused ‘deep hurt and embarrassment’ to York residents
Mrs Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, sued the duke last August, alleging he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17, a minor under US law, while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.
Court documents filed in New York this morning revealed the Duke of York and Mrs Giuffre had reached a ‘settlement in principle’ in the civil sex claim.
Although the parties have settled the case, the agreement is not an admission of guilt from the duke and he has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.
Today Ms Maskell said: ‘Although it is a relief that Prince Andrew has finally acknowledged and expressed regret for his close association with a convicted sex offender and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, his long delay in doing so and initial response to the charges and Ms Giuffre have been source of deep hurt and embarrassment to many people across the city.
‘Carrying a title does create an ambassadorial relationship with that place, and for somewhere with a global reputation, such as York, this is extremely important.
‘It is to be welcomed that he has now pledged to support the fight against the evils of sex trafficking and it’s 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.’
Quoting a poll from York’s daily newspaper The Press, Ms Maskell highlighted how 88 per cent of people in the city wanted Prince Andrew’s association with it to be removed, but said there is ‘currently no legal route by which this can be achieved’.
Ms Maskell, who has previously requested a debate into how aristocratic titles which take their name from a geographical locations are assigned, called for Parliament to pass legislation which would enable people to vote for the withdrawal of Andrew’s title.
Today Prince Andrew settled the sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre and said he would make a ‘substantial donation’ to Mrs Giuffre’s charity supporting victims’ rights.
Prince Andrew at York Racecourse to open the new weighing room in May 2015
The prince pictured with his accuser Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell
He also praised her ‘bravery’ and that of other trafficking victims, saying he had ‘never intended’ to malign her character.
The Duke said in his statement today that he ‘regrets his association with Epstein’ and pledged to demonstrate this ‘by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims’.
An attachment to the letter announcing the settlement to the public and the United States District Court gave brief details of the agreement between Andrew and Mrs Giuffre but indicated the sum would not be disclosed.
Attorney David Boies, who represents Mrs Giuffre, said that lawyers on both sides were telling the judge that a settlement in principle has been reached and they will request a dismissal of the lawsuit within a month.
The settlement means the civil case will not go to a jury trial, and also that Andrew will no longer be questioned under oath by Mrs Giuffre’s lawyers – something that had been expected to take place in the coming weeks.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan confirmed in an order tonight: ‘The joint application to suspend all deadlines and hold the action in abeyance is granted to the extent that deadlines are suspended and the action will be held in abeyance to and including March 17, 2022.
‘In the event the stipulation of dismissal is not filed by then, it remains entirely possible that this action will be set for trial when previously indicated.’
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