UK’s Prince Andrew loses royal and military links
14 January, 2022, 11:16 am
LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – Prince Andrew had his military links and royal patronages removed on Thursday and will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness”, Buckingham Palace said, as the son of Queen Elizabeth fights a U.S. lawsuit in which he is accused of sex abuse.
Andrew, 61, the Duke of York, was forced to step down from public duties in 2019 because of his connections to convicted U.S. sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and after a disastrous BBC TV interview which the prince had hoped would clear his name.
“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 said in a statement.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
On Wednesday, Andrew’s lawyers failed to persuade a U.S. judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit in which Virginia Giuffre accuses him of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager. read more
The prince, the 95-year-old queen’s second son, has denied Giuffre’s accusations that he forced her to have sex more than two decades ago at a London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and abused her at two Epstein properties.
‘MARATHON NOT A SPRINT’
“Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling,” a source close to 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.”
A representative for Giuffre did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Andrew’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 U.S. 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.