If Prince Andrew had long gone to court within the US to fight it out with Virginia Giuffre, it would have made headlines as tall as a New York skyscraper.
That royal catastrophe quarter has been averted through an out-of-courtroom settlement.
But it comes with excessive expenses to Prince Andrew, each economic and reputational, and it will be a protracted road returned before there is any chance of clearing his call in terms of public opinion.
He may not get lower back any of the royal patronages, navy hyperlinks or the HRH name that had been taken far from him.
And the various questions raised by using his BBC Newsnight interview – approximately his connections with Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein and information which include his inability to sweat – may be left unanswered.
If now not a smoking gun, there may be still the unexplained smoke from a Woking pizza oven.
The implication of this deal method he’s probably paying tens of millions of dollars to a person he nonetheless contends he has no reminiscence of ever meeting.
The deal says that Prince Andrew “regrets his affiliation with Epstein”, but that photo of the prince with the sex culprit will preserve to hang-out him.
That even extra famous photo of Ms Giuffre, Prince Andrew and Maxwell, taken in London almost 21 years ago, will always be there when his name is mentioned, frozen in digital aspic.
Long shadows were solid so that you can be tough to shift.
Legal experts had been predicting that a settlement was the maximum in all likelihood outcome from this civil court docket case, wherein Ms Giuffre had introduced sexual assault claims against Prince Andrew.
“It turned into the pleasant of the bad options to be had to him,” stated Gideon Benaim, a partner at regulation firm Simkins, who specialises in shielding high-profile reputations.
“If it had persisted it might have unavoidably damaged him even further,” said Mr Benaim.
Anna Rothwell at regulation company Corker Binning said Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview on its own “could have given Ms Giuffre’s legal professionals a wealth of fabric to use in pass exam”.
Paying the charge
But where does it depart Prince Andrew now?
A few weeks ago his felony team changed into full of combating talk about being equipped to conflict it out in court and wanting to knock down Ms Giuffre’s allegations.
Now the tone has modified completely to recognising that Ms Giuffre has “suffered both as an established victim of abuse and due to unfair public assaults”.
But Mr Benaim says the deal avoids any act of contrition and any non-public wrongdoing and forestalls a case which threatened an infinite supply of negative headlines.
“Reputationally he needed to eliminate this – nearly no matter the cost,” said the attorney.
Prince Andrew can hold his innocence, with nothing established towards him, and he ought to argue that he became paying a fee to guard his family from any further damaging insurance.
The variety of zeroes in that fee remains private, however it is likely to appear like a protracted row of these emojis of popping eyes.
‘Public or personal purse’
There is also a few ambiguity approximately whether it’s miles one or payments being made.
“The events will document a stipulated dismissal upon Ms Giuffre’s receipt of the agreement (the sum of which is not being disclosed).
“Prince Andrew intends to make a giant donation to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights,” says the joint assertion accompanying the deal.
Whether which means separate payments to Ms Giuffre and the charity has not been clarified by means of Prince Andrew’s representatives.
Who is paying for the pay-out can be another trouble.
Kate Macnab, a lawyer at Reeds Solicitors, says: “It is probably there will be a few demands to recognise in which the fee is coming from – public or non-public handbag?”
In phrases of what comes subsequent, the agreement includes a line suggesting how he would possibly try and begin restoring his reputation.
“He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein with the aid of helping the combat in opposition to the evils of sex trafficking, and through helping its victims.”
Although in the meanwhile he is probably susceptible to dropping extra links with organizations, than making new ones – mainly anything linked to intercourse trafficking.
There will nonetheless be constitutional roles. Prince Andrew stays a counsellor of country, except rules is passed to trade that, which means that he is one of 4 senior royals who ought to act in place of the Queen if contamination meant she became not able to perform legit obligations.
From the wider Royal Family there might be relief that the case is over, in preference to facing a Platinum Jubilee year clouded through allegations and extra revelations.
But for Prince Andrew it’s hard to look any way again to public existence.
Will he be able to take part in jubilee events or authentic royal circle of relatives events?
Even with no admission of guilt, or any concessions to the claims towards him, his destiny courting with the general public, and any appearances at royal activities, may be awkward to mention the least.