Prince Andrew has finally broken the cover amid reports he may be taking legal action or writing a book in an attempt to repair his tarnished reputation.
The Duke of York, with an apparently sombre expression, was seen today riding a horse in the Windsor Estate grounds.
Andrew, 62, was urged earlier this week to try to reverse the multimillion-pound settlement he reached with his sex abuse accuser, Virginia Giuffre.
Royal analysts believe he has received a significant inheritance from the Queen and that this has given him the assurance – if he wanted to – to take a legal challenge against Ms Giuffre, 39.
Others suspect that Andrew, who was recently labeled one of the most unpopular royals, could be writing a memoir to try and clear his name after consistently denying Ms Giuffre’s allegations.
Prince Andrew (pictured today in Windsor) has finally broken the cover amid reports he may be taking legal action or writing a book in an attempt to repair his tarnished reputation
The Duke of York, with an apparently sombre expression, was seen riding a horse in the Windsor Estate grounds today (pictured)
Ms. Giuffre, a trafficking victim of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, accused Andrew of sexually assaulting her under US law when she was a minor.
Andrew denied the allegations, but paid an out-of-court settlement of reportedly £12 million last year to get her to drop the civil claim in the US.
The settlement is believed to include a confidentiality embargo, preventing one or both parties from revealing details of the agreement, which expires in March.
“It was made to cover the year of the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee,” a source told The Daily Mail. “Once it’s done, there’s nothing stopping the Duke from getting more proactive.”
Andrew – who recently told friends that a “mysterious development” will restore his disgraced reputation within the next few months – is also in a much stronger financial position than he was a year ago, at the time of the settlement.
There is, of course, another remedy Andrew could consider: following his cousin Prince Harry’s example and writing a book.
“It’s unbelievable that he didn’t think of this,” said an old friend of the duke.
“A lot of people in his circle think he should and Fergie, who wrote her own memoir, My Story, has all the contacts in the publishing house.
“He would never have thought of it when his mother was alive, but it would be the perfect riposte now. Of course the royals wouldn’t like it, but Fergie did hers and wasn’t banished – and as for Harry, they’re even talking about family reconciliation now.’
Analysts say a book could provide Andrew with a faster and more satisfying form of redemption than dedicating himself to charitable causes.
Prince Andrew with his arm around then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts (now known by her married name Giuffre)
It is also clear that Andrew consulted Los Angeles attorneys in an effort to get Ms. Giuffre to withdraw her allegations and possibly get an apology.
He is reportedly ready to take a $100 million (nearly £83 million) lawsuit against Ms Giuffre if she repeats sexual claims against him in her forthcoming memoir.
Legal sources close to the prince say he is ready to “go on the offensive” if she repeats the accusations.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyers declined to comment when approached by DailyMail.com earlier this week, but a source close to her insisted the settlement won’t stop her from writing about him, saying: “She will be able to defend Prince Andrew discuss.’
A leading US lawyer has also claimed that Andrew should challenge Ms Giuffre to return the settlement amid questions about her ‘credibility’.
The Epstein victim sued Alan Dershowitz for calling her a liar over her claims that she was forced to have sex with him.
But in a statement in November, Ms. Giuffre admitted that she did ‘might have made a mistake’ by pointing the finger at Mr. Dershowitz, who denied her claims.
Mr Dershowitz told The Daily Telegraph this week that Andrew made a ‘mistake’ in not taking the case to court and must now try to reverse the settlement.
He said, “I never understood why he accepted the settlement. There were a lot of good defenses he could have put up.
“He should pursue every legal remedy and the media should thoroughly investigate all allegations because this is just the tip of the iceberg.”