UK’s Prince Andrew loses military titles over sex abuse scandal
Britain’s monarchy removed Prince Andrew's honorary military titles on Thursday and said he will no longer be known as "His Royal Highness", as the son of Queen Elizabeth fights a U.S. lawsuit in which he is accused of sex abuse.
The growing furor over allegations that Andrew sexually abused an American teenage girl trafficked by the late US financier Jeffrey Epstein threatened to taint the House of Windsor.
Buckingham Palace said late Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II had also agreed that Andrew, 61, will give up his honorary leadership of various charities, known as royal patronages.
He will also no longer use the title “his royal highness″ in official settings, British media said.
The decision is an effort to insulate the monarchy from the fallout from potentially years of sordid headlines as Andrew vows to fight a lawsuit filed by an American woman, Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was forced to have sex with the prince when she was 17.
A New York judge on Wednesday rejected Andrew’s effort to have the suit dismissed, increasing the chances that he will have to testify in the case if it goes to trial.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” the palace said, using the prince’s formal title. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
The move came after more than 150 military veterans and serving members of the armed forces asked the queen to strip her second son of his military titles, saying he had failed to live up to the “very highest standards of probity, honesty and honourable conduct” that are expected of British officers.
The remarks by the veterans were written in a letter released by Republic, a pressure group that campaigns for an end to the British monarchy.
Andrew served in the Royal Navy for two decades, including as a helicopter pilot during the 1982 Falklands War. The honorary military roles he lost included several overseas ones, such as his title as colonel-in-chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.
Andrew denies Giuffre’s allegations and has said he can’t recall ever meeting her.
He has spent years combatting concerns about his links with Epstein, the US financier who died in 2019 while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges, and Epstein’s longtime companion Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of related charges last month.
The prince stepped away from royal duties in November 2019 after a disastrous BBC interview in which he tried to justify his association with the pair and failed to show empathy for Epstein’s victims. But he managed to cling to his military titles and patronages until Wednesday’s ruling made Andrew’s position untenable.
Giuffre sued Andrew in August, alleging that Epstein and Maxwell coerced her into sexual encounters with the prince in 2001. Giuffre said she was sexually abused by Andrew at Maxwell’s London home, at Epstein’s New York mansion and his estate in the US Virgin Islands.