Palace Strips Prince Andrew Of His Military Affiliations, Patronages Amid Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military affiliations and official charity affiliations just one day after a U.S. judge refused to dismiss the sexual assault lawsuit against him.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” Buckingham Palace announced Thursday. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
As part of the decision, Prince Andrew will also stop using the style “His Royal Highness” in an official capacity, a royal source told CNN.
The statement makes no mention of Prince Andrew’s place in the line of succession to the throne.
The royal family plans to redistribute the Duke’s roles among other members of the Royal Family.
The announcement comes just one day after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan refused to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought against Prince Andrew by Virginia Giuffre last year, NBC News reports.
Giuffre has accused the British royal of sexually abusing her on three separate occasions while she was 17-years-old, including forcing her “to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will,” according to the lawsuit obtained by Oxygen.com.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” Giuffre said in a statement to Oxygen.com after filing the lawsuit. “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.”
Giuffre has said one of the incidents occurred at the London townhome of convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell while Giuffre was in the country as a teen with Maxwell and wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in 2019 while facing his own set of sex-trafficking charges.
Before Buckingham Palace made the announcement to strip Prince Andrew of the titles, more than 150 members of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army veterans had signed a letter to the queen asking her to remove him from his eight British military appointments in light of the allegations, the BBC reports.
Prince Andrew has consistently denied the allegations against him, telling the BBC in 2019 that he “never had any sort of sexual contact” with Giuffre.
He announced he would “step back from public duties” shortly after the interview, People reports.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” he said a statement at the time. “Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”