On Tuesday, Britain’s Prince Andrew made his first public appearance since settling a rape lawsuit with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a victim of Jeffrey Epstein’s trafficking ring who has also accused the 62-year-old royal of sexual abuse.
The Duke of York escorted his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, to a memorial service for her late husband, Prince Philip, at Westminster Abbey—a high-profile outing that royal family observers viewed as a defiant display of support for her disgraced second son, who is often described as her favorite, and a rushed attempt at rehabilitation.
As Andrew’s appearance raised eyebrows and stirred debates on social media, some survivors of Epstein’s sex-trafficking scheme, as well as victims’ lawyers, say they’re also disturbed by the Queen’s gesture.
Juliette Bryant, a survivor of Epstein’s abuse, saw Andrew’s post-settlement debut and his mother’s choice of escort as a slap in the face to the victims.
“It’s not just an insult to the victims—it’s a complete insult towards humanity,” Bryant told The Daily Beast. “They obviously feel nothing for all the pain they have caused. But then again haven’t they always done as they pleased?”
Meanwhile, Spencer Kuvin, a lawyer who represents several Epstein victims, said, “It is unfortunate that the Crown does not take seriously the issues pertaining to her son. While the world mourns the loss of Prince Phillip, she must separate herself from even any implication that she approves of her son’s past behavior.”
Just six weeks ago, Andrew agreed to pay Giuffre roughly $14 million to end her lawsuit, which accused him of raping her three times when she was 17.
As part of the settlement, the duke released a statement saying he “regrets his association with Epstein” and “pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.”
Lisa Bloom, another attorney representing victims of Epstein, pointed to this vow on Tuesday when asked about his reentry into the public sphere.
“In his public statement settling his case last month, Prince Andrew promised to demonstrate his regret by ‘supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.’ So far there is zero evidence of that,” Bloom told The Daily Beast.
“We are watching. We are waiting. As he resumes public appearances, it appears that, like his promise to cooperate with law enforcement, this will be yet another broken promise.”