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Anger in UK over Prince Andrew settlement

Anger in UK over Prince Andrew settlement

Prince Andrew Photo: VCG

Disgraced British royal Prince Andrew was urged Wednesday to disappear forever from public life after settling a sexual assault lawsuit at vast cost, as Queen Elizabeth II suffered further indignity in her Platinum Jubilee year.

The 95-year-old monarch, who is reportedly helping to foot the bill for the cash-strapped Andrew’s settlement, also saw her elder son and heir Prince Charles embroiled in fresh controversy over a “cash for honors” scandal.

Police in London said they were investigating claims that an aide to Charles offered UK honors and even citizenship to a Saudi tycoon, in return for donations to Charles’s charitable foundation.

The office of the Prince of Wales reiterated that he “had no knowledge of the alleged offer” by Michael Fawcett, who for decades was one of Charles’s closest confidants.

The revelation came a day after Charles’s younger brother Andrew settled the lawsuit brought by US accuser Virginia Giuffre, sparing him the public humiliation of a trial.

Details of the deal were not made public, and Andrew’s representatives told AFP they would not comment on the contents.

The Daily Telegraph put the settlement at a whopping 12 million pounds ($16.3 million) – 10 million pounds for Giuffre and 2 million pounds to a charity for victims of sex trafficking.

The newspaper said the money would come from one of the private estates belonging to Queen Elizabeth II. Commentators demanded transparency on the source, in case the British taxpayer ends up on the hook.

“I just think it’s awful that it’s all been swept under the carpet, as if it never even happened,” Yasmine Ollive, a 34-year-old account manager, said in London.

After other controversies over Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, she said that if the royals “keep on carrying on with the things that they’re doing, then it could be the end of them.”

Giuffre, 38, has said she had sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law, after meeting him through US financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein took his own life in prison while awaiting trial for sex crimes.

AFP