Prince Andrew will no longer be referred to as His Royal Highness after the Queen sensationally stripped him of his military titles and royal patronages.
Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen and will never return to royal duties.
And while the Duke of York will keep His Royal Highness honorific he will not use it after a judge decided he would have to face a civil trial on sex abuse allegations.
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Virginia Giuffre claims Andrew’s friend Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with the royal on three occasions when she was 17.
The Duke of York vehemently denies the allegations.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Andrew, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew in the 1982 Falklands War, is accused of sexually assaulting Virginia Giuffre when she was 17.
Ms Giuffre alleges the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein lent her out for sex with his wealthy and powerful associates.
Andrew, who is ninth in line to the throne, was forced to step back from royal duties in late 2019, after a disastrous television interview in which he tried to defend his links to Epstein.
Public outrage at the time saw several charities and associations distance themselves from him, and he has since repeatedly denied Giuffre’s allegations.
He has rarely been seen in public since the television interview. On Thursday, he was seen being driven from his house near Windsor Castle, west of London, an AFP photographer said.
The announcement came after more than 150 Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army veterans wrote to the Queen, calling on her to strip Andrew of his ranks and titles in the armed forces.
The 95-year-old head of state is commander-in-chief of the army, navy and air force.
“Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post,” the veterans wrote in a joint letter made public by the anti-monarchy pressure group Republic.
“Officers of the British armed forces must adhere to the very highest standards of probity, honesty and honourable conduct.
“These are standards which Prince Andrew has fallen well short of,” they wrote, adding that he had “brought the services he is associated with into disrepute”.
Senior members of the British royal family have typically been appointed as honorary heads of military units, with the Queen’s approval.
Andrew was honorary colonel of the Grenadier Guards, whose soldiers guard Buckingham Palace in their distinctive bearskin hats and red tunics.
It comes as Meghan Markle’s dad urged her to speak to US law enforcement if she “knows anything” about Giuffre’s claim she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew.
The US Sun reports that Thomas Markle Sr, 77, said he supported any move by Virginia’s high-powered lawyer to depose his daughter as part of the civil case against Andrew.
Judge Kaplan rejected motion to dismiss from Andrew’s legal team and now the lawsuit against the Duke of York, 61, could go to trial later this year.
Virginia’s lawyer David Boies has said Meghan may be called on to give evidence because she spent time in the UK with the royal family and is now living in the US.
Mr Boies said of Meghan: “She is somebody we can count on to tell the truth.”
Speaking exclusively to The US Sun, Meghan’s dad Thomas Markle said: “Quite honestly, I feel that if Meghan knows anything about this, she should speak to law enforcement in the States.
“I know she has had some dealings with Andrew, of course she has, and if she has been to any events or venues he has, she needs to speak out,” he said. “She has no right to refuse to do so, really.
“I understand that Andrew’s reputation is damaging to the royal family,” he said. “If she knows anything and has been involved in Andrew’s circle in any way, shape or form, it’s her duty to speak about it.
“She’s not exempt from this because she’s a Duchess,” he said. “In fact by leaving the UK and taking her prince with her she gave up the right to be a Duchess.”
Ms Giuffre claims that she was a victim of sex trafficking by late billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein and was lent out to other powerful men.
She says she was forced to have sex with Andrew three times, when she was 17 at the London home of Epstein’s madam Ghislaine Maxwell, at Epstein’s townhouse in New York and on the billionaire’s private island of Little St James in the US Virgin Islands.
Andrew has vehemently denied the claims, while Buckingham Palace has said it would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.
His lawyers tried to get the case against him thrown out due to a deal Virginia struck with the late Jeffrey Epstein during her lawsuit against the convicted child sex offender in 2009.
The agreement stated that she could not sue anyone else connected to Epstein after she settled her claim against him for $US500,000.
Andrew’s team argued that he was a “potential defendant” as defined in the agreement and the case against him should therefore be dismissed.
Now that the case is going ahead the Prince could be deposed as soon as next month after the judge rejected the motion to dismiss.
Mr Markle, who is recovering from a bout of flu, also said he enjoyed seeing Meghan and Harry’s Christmas card picture of granddaughter Lilibet, who, like their son Archie, he has never met.
The retired television lighting director, who currently lives in Mexico, has been estranged from his daughter since the time of her wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018, said: “I saw the photo of Lilibet at Christmas.
“It was lovely to see her but I don’t hold out much hope of seeing her or Archie in person in the near future,” he said. “At this point I have no respect for my daughter and I think Harry is the biggest joke in the country.
“I had a quiet Christmas and New Year, I just spent time with my son Tom here in Mexico.
Explaining his most recent battle with ill health, he went on: “I’m dealing with the flu right now,” he said. “I’ve had my Covid shots and booster. I haven’t got Covid. I’m not worried about Covid.
“I’m an old man who gets colds every now and again and right now I have to get over it.”
Prominent honorary military titles stripped from him include Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth, colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment, colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps, commodore-in-chief of the Fleet Air Arm, royal Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, deputy colonel-in-chief of the Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeth’s own) and royal Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment. Representatives for Meghan did not reply to a request for comment.
— With AFP and The Sun