Prince Andrew sued for sexual assault—what we know so far about Virginia Giuffre and her decades-long battle with the Queen's second son

Virginia Giuffre is suing Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son, over allegations he sexually abused her when she was underage

Virginia Giuffre is suing Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son, over allegations he sexually abused her when she was underage
(Image credit: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Virginia Giuffre has filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in a federal New York court, alleging that she was abused by the Duke of York and Jeffrey Epstein when she was underage. 

Who is Virginia Giuffre? 

Virginia Giuffre is one of the most known survivors of the alleged sex trafficking ring ran by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

Born in California in 1983, the Victims Refuse Silence founder first accused Prince Andrew of abuse in 2014 as part of a case brought by alleged Epstein victims against the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2019, she told the BBC that she was enslaved by Epstein as a minor and forced to have sex with his friends, one of whom included Prince Andrew. 

Buckingham Palace has categorically denied Giuffre had any contact with the Queen's second youngest son, dismissing the accusations as "false and without foundation." Now, the mother-of-three is suing Prince Andrew for sexual assault and battery. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, attends a commemoration service at Manchester Cathedral marking the 100th anniversary since the start of the Battle of the Somme. July 1, 2016 in Manchester, England. Services are being held across Britain and the world to remember those who died in the Battle of the Somme which began 100 years ago on July 1st 1916. Armies of British and French soldiers fought against the German Empire leading to over one million lives being lost. (Photo by Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Andrew is being sued by Virginia Guiffre 

(Image credit: Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

How did Virginia Giuffre meet Prince Andrew? 

Giuffre claims that she was introduced to Prince Andrew by Epstein and his British socialite girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, in 2001. Maxwell had first approached Giuffre when the teenager was working as a spa attendant at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Maxwell offered her a job as a masseuse, promising to give her the necessary training to become a fully qualified massage therapist. 

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Ghislaine Maxwell attends VIP Evening of Conversation for Women's Brain Health Initiative, Moderated by Tina Brown at Spring Studios on October 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Ghislaine Maxwell

(Image credit: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images))

Maxwell then introduced her to Epstein, and together, the couple allegedly began to groom the 17-year-old to provide sexual services to their circle of friends—which included Prince Andrew. 

Giuffre claims that she was trafficked to the Duke of York in 2001 and forced to have sex with him three times—an experience that she described as "wicked" and "really scary" in a 2019 interview. 

In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Prince Andrew denied Giuffre's claims. "It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened," he told journalist Emily Maitlis. "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."

What allegations did Virginia Giuffre make against Prince Andrew? 

Virginia Giuffre alleged in 2015 that she was forced by Maxwell to have sex with Prince Andrew, who she claimed is "an abuser" and "participant", three separate times when she was underage. The assaults allegedly took place in New York, London and the Virgin Islands. Maxwell and Prince Andrew have denied these allegations. 

What has Virginia Giuffre done to help survivors? 

Giuffre, who today lives in Australia with her husband and three children, now runs an anti-trafficking group called Victims Refuse Silence. In a statement released on Monday (9 August), she explained her reasons for suing Prince Andrew under the Child Victims Act. "As the suit lays out in detail, I was trafficked to him and sexually abused by him," Giuffre said. 

“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim one’s life by speaking out and demanding justice."

“I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first—and I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates—but I knew if I did not pursue this action, I would be letting them and victims everywhere down.”

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.