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Queen Elizabeth already pays Andrew a £250,000 stipend, but it seems she will have to dig deeper. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Queen Elizabeth already pays Andrew a £250,000 stipend, but it seems she will have to dig deeper. Picture: BLOOMBERG

When financiers from the Duke of York’s private bank lent him £1.5m in 2017, they were sceptical about the scandal-hit British prince’s ability to repay the money.

Fortunately for Prince Andrew, the bankers were able to look past his shaky finances and find someone who might be good for the money: his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

As questions mount about how he could afford a reported multimillion-dollar settlement with Virginia Giuffre, attention is again turning to the queen, who in 2022 marks 70 years on the throne, and her support for her wayward second son. 

British media last week reported Andrew had been forced to pay about £12m to Giuffre to get her to drop a lawsuit accusing him of raping her when she was 17. It also reported that the queen helped her son fund the deal. While the terms of the settlement were confidential, Andrew said in a statement he commended Giuffre’s bravery and pledged to make a “substantial donation” to her charity in support of victims’ rights.

From what is known about his personal wealth, it would not be enough to cover a settlement of this size. In 2017, staff at his private bank, Luxembourg’s Banque Havilland, put his wealth at about £5m.

“It seems highly likely that his mother will have to bail him out again to pay this enormous settlement,” said Norman Baker, a former UK government minister and author of a book about the British royal family’s finances. “We should have transparency on where the money is coming from.”

Had the case gone to trial, the bill could easily have come in at $4m-$6m

Andrew’s dealings with Banque Havilland offer an insight into his finances and what role the queen may have played in supporting him, in addition to the £250,000 stipend she pays him. His other known source of income is a £20,000 Royal Navy pension. 

When Andrew took out a series of short-term loans from the private bank between 2015 and 2017, bank staff viewed his mother as important to the facility. “While the [increased] loan is unsecured and granted solely against the credibility of the applicant, both his position and that his mother is the sovereign monarch of the UK should provide access to funds for repayment if need be,” they wrote in a credit application.

Andrew’s royal rank is referenced frequently across the document. Describing its business relationship with him, Banque Havilland stated: “The borrower is Prince Andrew the Duke of York, son of the sovereign of the United Kingdom.” At another point, the application noted Andrew’s profession as “prince” and his address as Buckingham Palace. 

Spokespeople for Andrew, Buckingham Palace and Banque Havilland declined to comment.

In the run-up to last week’s settlement, speculation had grown about how Andrew would fund the case. Speaking to Bloomberg in January, Mitchell Epner, a former US federal prosecutor, estimated his legal costs could have been between $200,000 to $300,000 a month. Had the case gone to trial, he said the bill could easily have come in at $4m-$6m.

Speaking after the settlement, Epner, now an attorney at Rottenberg Lipman Rich, said the reported size of the settlement didn’t “seem unusual” given the likely costs involved in a trial.

Bloomberg News. For more articles like this please visit Bloomberg.com.

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