Prince Andrew was stripped of multiple military titles, affiliations, and royal patronages on Thursday with approval from Queen Elizabeth II. The decision came after the royal family faced backlash for the Duke of York’s alleged sexual assault case in the United States.
According to The Guardian, the use of “His Royal Highness” was also taken away, and his royal duties set to be replaced by other members of the royal family.
Prince Andrew has denied all of accuser Virginia Giuffre’s claims. He will now attempt to defend himself in court in the U.S. as a private citizen without backing from the UK monarchy.
“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 released on Thursday. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Outside of backlash from the public in the United States and the UK, 150 military veterans also wrote to Queen Elizabeth II asking her to strip Prince Andrew of his honorary military titles and roles.
Though the royal palace offered no response to the open letter at the time, the veterans wrote that were “upset” and wrapped in “anger” that the Duke of York would be able to hold his titles while in court on claims of sexual assault. The open letter also stated that it would be “untenable” for Prince Andrew to retain his military titles.
“Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post,” the letter to the Queen read. “We understand that he is your son, but we write to you in your capacity as head of state and as commander-in-chief of the army, navy and air force. These steps could have been taken at any time in the past 11 years. Please do not leave it any longer.”
According to The Guardian, he held the posts of “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 Elizabeths’ Own) and royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.”
On Wednesday, New York Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan denied a motion filed by Prince Andrew to have Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit dismissed.
Prince Andrew now has until July to to answer questions about the case under oath, which could result in a trial toward the end of 2022.
In the lawsuit, Virginia Giuffre claims that she was the victim of sex trafficking with the Duke of York while she was still underage. She states that she was sexually abused by Prince Andrew on Jeffrey Epstein’s private island and was forced to have sex with his other high-profile friends. The incidents occurred again at Epstein’s mansion in New York, and Ghislaine Maxwell’s house in London.
Despite photo evidence of Andrew, Giuffre, and Ghislaine together, he previously stated that he had never met her before and that the image was photoshopped.
Giuffre’s attorney Sigrid McCawley said that the judge’s ruling was “another important step in Virginia’s heroic and determined pursuit of justice as a survivor of sex trafficking.”
Just after Christmas last month, Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking minors in connection to the crimes of Jeffrey Epstein. She faces up to 65 years in prison.
Though Virginia Guiffre was not one of the four women who testified during the case, her name and 2009 settlement with Epstein was mentioned on multiple occasions.