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Evening Standard Comment: Prince Andrew’s settlement was least worst option

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t is the right outcome following what has been a hugely unedifying and regrettable period not only for Prince Andrew, but for the royal family.

Of the three remaining paths open to him, this was the least bad option. Andrew could have ignored the US judge and risk being ruled against in absentia. He could have fought the case, risking further humiliation and dragging not only his mother, but the country, through it.

So the route taken, to settle, makes sense for him and means the royal family can continue to focus on preparing for the handover of power from the Queen to Prince Charles. Indeed, it is significant that Charles’s intervention was the decisive factor in Andrew agreeing to settle.

It is regrettable that it took so long to get here, with the accompanying damage to the royal family and upset to the Queen, in addition to destroying the prince’s own reputation and career.

It is also right that Andrew says he now regrets his association with Epstein, a serial abuser and sex trafficker. It is a shame it took so long for him to come to this conclusion, one he declined to concede during his now-infamous interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis.

And it is appropriate that a substantial sum be paid to Virginia Giuffre’s charity in support of sex abuse victims’ rights. Giuffre has behaved with great dignity and courage throughout this ordeal in the face of persistent character attacks.

We hope that a line can now be drawn under this affair. And for the Queen it means that, in her jubilee year, she will not have to deal with the fallout of an ugly court battle.

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