Anisah Islam, BA Global Liberal Arts
Content warning: this article mentions sexual abuse and related terms.
On 29 December 2021, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was convicted of luring teenage girls to be sexually abused by the American financier Jeffrey Epstein from 1994 to 2004.
The month-long trial featured horrific details of the exploitation of girls as young as 14, which led to the jurors deliberating for five full days before finding Maxwell guilty of five out of the six charges against her.
“Maxwell faces the possibility of years behind bars since the maximum prison terms for each charge ranges from five to 40 years in prison.”
Maxwell faces the possibility of years behind bars since the maximum prison terms for each charge ranges from five to 40 years in prison.
The verdict earned a positive reaction from the women who fought in the civil court for years, hoping to hold her accountable for her role in actively recruiting and grooming minors and sometimes joining in the sexual abuse.
Maxwell’s conviction has reshifted attention to Prince Andrew who has recently been notably disgraced due to his association with Jeffery Epstein. However, Maxwell was the only person on trial so the convictions only apply to her.
The Duke of York, 61, is not facing criminal prosecution
in the United States. He is however, being sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, one of Epstein’s victims who accused the Duke in August 2021 of ‘committing sexual assault and battery’ when she was a teenager. A US judge recently denied Prince Andrew’s plea to dismiss the sexual assault lawsuit brought against him, paving the way for the case to proceed.
It came after a sealed legal agreement made between Giuffre and the late Epstein in 2009 was revealed to the public. In it, she accepted $500,000 from Epstein, protecting him or anyone else ‘who could have been included as a potential defendant’ from prosecution.
The Duke’s lawyers tried to contend it was grounds for Giuffre’s case to be dismissed. Had Maxwell been acquitted, claims made by Giuffre could have been significantly undermined.
Maxwell’s conviction has thus served to strengthen Giuffre’s claims, clearing the way for her lawyers to proceed with their case against Prince Andrew. The Prince has since denied any claims of being a co-conspirator of Epstein and on 26 January, insisted on a jury trial in Giuffre’s lawsuit against him.
Consequently, the Queen has revoked Prince Andrew of his honorary military titles and patronages. Buckingham Palace announced the decision following the publication of an open letter signed by more than 150 Royal Navy, RAF, and Army veterans that urged the Queen to remove the Prince’s eight British military titles.
“The Duke retains his birth title of ‘Prince’ and remains the Duke of York.”
Despite this, the Prince ‘has not lost everything’ wrote Craig Prescott, a law lecturer at Bangor University, in an article on The Conversation. He claims the Duke retains his birth title of ‘prince’ and remains the ‘Duke of York’ along with his rank of vice admiral in the Royal Navy. He continues to be ninth in line of succession to the throne.
Many wish for his title of ‘Duke’ to be removed, particularly in York, where a city council member has launched a campaign backing the move. However unlike military titles, Andrew’s peerage (a centuries-old ranking system for British nobility that includes duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron) can only be removed by an Act of Parliament.
This article discusses content that some readers may find distressing. If this is you, please see the following recourses that may be of help: the Student’s Union offer specialist support contact information on the SU website: https://soasunion.org/support/personal/
Outside of SOAS: Survivors Network telephone helpline (Open Mon 7-9 PM & Wed 12-2 PM) 01273 720 110; Rape Crisis UK telephone line (Open every day 12:00-2:30 PM and 7:00-9:30 PM including public holidays) 0808 802 9999, they also have a live chat function on their website (www. rapecrisis.org.uk); Survivors Network also have an online chat, text and call service (Open Mon – Sun, 12pm-8pm) accessible on their website (www.survivorsuk.org); Samaritans have a free telephone line open 24 hours every day of the year at 116 123.org) ; Samaritans have a free telephone line open 24 hours every day of the year at 116 123.
Photo Caption: Prince Andrew will retain his ‘Prince’ title (Credit: Jamie J Gray).