The amount paid to the Duke of York’s accuser to settle the civil sex assault claim against him should be made public and so should the source of the funds, a royal finances expert has said.
No details have been disclosed with regard to the settlement made to Virginia Giuffre or the costs, but there has been speculation that Andrew has agreed to pay an eight-figure sum.
Last month, Buckingham Palace announced that the duke would be defending the case “as a private citizen”, but a number of commentators have claimed that would not stop him having been helped along with money from the Queen’s private wealth.
Andrew receives a Royal Navy pension and the Queen is also thought to fund her son from her £21.7-million-a-year Duchy of Lancaster income, but the figure she gives him is kept private.
David McClure, author of Royal Privilege: The Queen’s True Worth, said a settlement could be “in the order of several million dollars”.
He told the PA news agency: “That raises the question: ‘does he have the money?'”
There had been reports Andrew had been trying to sell a chalet in the Swiss resort of Verbier which he bought for a reported £13 million in 2014 with his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.
Mr McClure added: “The very fact he had to sell, it does show he had some money but he didn’t have lots of money.
“So where does the money come from? I think more than likely the Queen.”
He said if money did come from the Queen it “more than likely would have come from the Duchy of Lancaster, which is described as the Queen’s private estate”.
He said the source of any settlement funds to Andrew is of “tremendous public interest”, and called for the royals to “come clean and say where the money came from”.
Mr McClure added: “I just would argue in view of the enormous public interest in it, in view of the fact that Prince Andrew is a public figure, he was in line to the throne, I really think that they should disclose the amount of money and where it’s come from.”
Adding that he is “not optimistic” the information will be made public, Mr McClure said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and not say anything, because there’s a long history of secrecy to do with anything involving the royal finances, but given that it’s a public matter, given there’s so much pubic interest in the matter, I really think for once the royal family should come clean and say where the money came from.”
Another royal expert said it is likely “we will never know what contribution came from the Queen to the Duke of York to help with all that (legal costs and the settlement).”
Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, told PA: “I think if we are clear that it is coming from a private source, albeit the Queen, then it’s no burden to the taxpayer. I think perhaps that needs to be underlined.
“The figures are pretty transparent nowadays. The Queen has a private income which she uses to support various members of her family so if that’s the case then so be it.
“Who else is going to support him other than the Queen?”
He added: “There’s no reason for the Queen not to help him out financially as mother, rather than head of state.”
Media lawyer Mark Stephens speculated that the total costs of legal fees, the settlement and the charitable donation could be somewhere around 10 million dollars.
He told PA: “Multimillion dollar awards are not uncommon in MeToo kind of cases.”
He said: “Essentially the question is what is his net worth? What I’m doing is putting together the fact that he sold, at an undervalue, because he had to do it quickly, his chalet, we know that he netted about 10 million from it, maybe a little more.”
Reputation and privacy lawyer Alex McCready said settlement figures in the US “tend to dwarf” those in the UK, and while it is difficult to predict the amount in this case it is likely to be “extremely substantial”.
She said: “I think many people will be questioning how Prince Andrew is going to be able to afford what is likely to be an extremely substantial settlement.”
Graham Smith from the anti-monarchy group Republic said 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”.
He said: “So much public money ends up in royal pockets one way or another. Are the British public ultimately paying for Andrew to avoid appearing in court?
“This scandal has done significant damage to the monarchy, and these questions aren’t going away.”