Britain’s Prince Andrew has been unceremoniously stripped of his military and royal titles, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday, just one day after a Manhattan judge gave the green light to a sexual abuse lawsuit against the disgraced son of the Queen.
Andrew, 61, is now unable to use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity and his other roles as the Duke of York will be distributed among the other members of the House of Buckingham.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” the royal family said in an official statement, reports CNN. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Prince Andrew faces a civil lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre Roberts, 38, who alleges that she was forced by late financier Jeffrey Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell to have “disgusting” sex with the duke in London when she 17, a minor under U.S. law. Giuffre claims that Andrew knew at the time that she was underage.
According to her lawsuit, she feared disobeying Epstein and Maxwell due to “their powerful connections, wealth and authority.” Andrew, however, vociferously denies the claim.
The ongoing drama surrounding Andrew has already led to the Queen stripping her middle son of performing royal tasks following his humiliating 2019 interview with the BBC where he attempted to justify his friendship with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently found guilty of sex trafficking.
At the time, the prince – a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew missions in the 1982 Malvinas War – was allowed to retain his military titles, which included vice admiral of the Royal Navy and colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
However, Buckingham Palace had faced strong pressure from military groups to strip the Duke of York of those titles.
“We understand that he is your son, but … please do not leave it any longer,” a group of 150 veterans wrote in an open letter to the monarch.
“All of us have served our country and are proud to have done so. For that reason, we are particularly upset and angry that Prince Andrew remains a member of the armed forces and continues to hold military titles,” the veterans added.
“Officers of the British armed forces must adhere to the very highest standards of probity, honesty and honorable conduct. These are standards which Prince Andrew has fallen well short of,” the letter said.
Andrew is likely to face a trial in Manhattan federal court later this year following the court’s Wednesday ruling.
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