The embattled Duke of York has been accused of sexually abusing Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the alleged victims of convicted American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, when she was underage.
UK’s Prince Andrew has been stripped of military titles and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace revealed on Thursday.
“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 stated.
The statement also said that the Duke of York will “continue not to undertake any public duties”, noting that he is “defending this case as a private citizen” – apparently referring to a civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Aside from this, Reuters reported, citing a royal source, that Prince Andrew would no longer use the title “His Royal Highness”, and his roles will be distributed among other members of the UK royal family.
Giuffre, who is one of the alleged victims of convicted American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has accused Prince Andrew of sexually abusing her when she was a minor. The Duke of York has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has been struggling to dismiss the case as unconstitutional.
On Wednesday, however, US District Judge Lewis A Kaplan ruled against Prince Andrew, shooting down almost every argument rolled out by the Duke’s legal team. Andrew’s lawyers questioned the constitutionality of a New York state law that temporarily waived the usual statute of limitations for lawsuits brought by victims of childhood sexual abuse. Additionally, they claimed that Giuffre signed away her rights for any lawsuits against defendants in Epstein-related cases when she struck a deal with Epstein’s team in 2009.
The Duke’s lawyers could still appeal the ruling, however, and try to have the case dismissed on other pretexts.
On Thursday, ITV reported citing a source in the prince’s office that Andrew’s team were not surprised by the US court ruling.
“Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. However, it was not a judgment on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations,” ITV reporter Chris Ship quoted the source on Twitter.
In the event of Giuffre and Andrew failing to reach any sort of settlement on the case, it will proceed to a civil trial – something that, according to Judge Kaplan, could occur between September and December this year.
On Thursday, the campaign group Republic said that more than 150 veterans have signed an open letter urging the Queen to strip Prince Andrew of his military titles because of his connections to Epstein.