Prince Andrew loses military titles and patronages

The Duke of York’s military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Virginia Giuffre is suing the Duke of York in a civil case for allegedly assaulting her when she was a teenager.
Photo: AFP

Prince Andrew will also stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity, a royal source added.

The decision comes a day after a judge in the US decided a civil claim against the Prince will go ahead.

American woman Virginia Giuffre claims the prince sexually abused her wile he was with the American financier and paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001.
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001. Photo: AFP

Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies says she doesn’t want a financial settlement, but wants to be vindicated in court.

The prince has consistently denied the claims. Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” a statement from Buckingham Palace said.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said it had no comment about the duke’s military titles being handed back to the Queen, and that it was a matter for the Palace.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan said Giuffre, 38, could pursue claims that Andrew battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress while Epstein – a financier who killed himself in jail in August 2019 while awaiting his sex trafficking trial – was trafficking her.

The judge’s decision means Prince Andrew could be forced to give evidence at a trial which could begin between September and December 2022 if no settlement were reached.

‘Marathon not a sprint’

“Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling,” a source close to Prince Andrew said.

“However, it was not a judgement on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations. This is a marathon not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.”

The prince’s links to Epstein had led to a swathe of damaging media reports, leading the prince to decide to do an TV interview in November 2019 which he hoped would resolve the matter.

It instead led to ridicule and further questions, and as the controversy grew, Buckingham Palace had increasingly distanced itself from the prince, declining to comment and referring all questions to his lawyers.

The US conviction last month of his friend Ghislaine Maxwell on sex trafficking and other charges of recruiting and grooming underage girls for Epstein to abuse, together with his own case, had left his reputation in the British media in tatters.

A royal source said the decision over Andrew came after wide discussions among the Windsors, and that his military affiliations and patronages would be redistributed to other members of the family.

Earlier, an open letter to the queen, signed by more than 150 veterans calling for Andrew too have his military titles taken away and “if necessary, that he be dishonourably discharged”, was published by the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic.

They called for Elizabeth to take immediate action because her son had been “uncooperative and less than truthful” about his relationship with Epstein, and had brought the armed services he represented into disrepute.

“Regardless of the result of Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against Prince Andrew, his position in Britain’s armed forces is now untenable,” the veterans’ letter said.

The scandal surrounding Andrew comes on the heels of the damage caused after the queen’s grandson Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan quit royal duties to forge new careers in Los Angeles, later accusing the royal household of racism.

– BBC / Reuters

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