Queen strips roles from Prince Andrew as he faces sex case trial in the US

The Duke of York will no longer use his HRH style and the Queen has stripped him of his honorary military roles and royal patronages in a dramatic fallout from his civil sexual assault case.

Andrew, who was born an HRH, will not use it any official capacity, a royal source said.

The development is a major blow to Andrew, who is facing a court showdown after a judge ruled on Wednesday that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against him could go ahead.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement 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.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

A royal source said the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, were involved in crisis talks over the matter.

The decision to remove the duke’s military roles and royal patronages will have been a difficult one for the Queen for a son who denies the allegations against him.

The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family.

Prince Andrew was colonel-in-chief of the Grenadier Guards.Prince Andrew was colonel-in-chief of the Grenadier Guards.
Prince Andrew was colonel-in-chief of the Grenadier Guards.

It comes after more than 150 veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand Andrew was removed from the honorary military positions.

Accusing the duke of bringing the services he is associated with into disrepute, the 152 former members of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army said that “were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post”.

And within hours Buckingham Palace responded with the public announcement made on the official Royal Family Twitter account.

Andrew had been Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British Army.

Picture reportedly showing Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell's townhouse in London, Britain on March 13 2001.Picture reportedly showing Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell's townhouse in London, Britain on March 13 2001.
Picture reportedly showing Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell's townhouse in London, Britain on March 13 2001.

His other British honorary titles were: 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.

He also had several overseas honorary roles, which were still listed on the monarchy’s website. These were Colonel-in-chief of the Queen’s York Rangers; Colonel-in-chief of The Royal Highland Fusiliers Of Canada; Colonel-in-chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own); and Colonel-in-chief of the Princess Louise Fusiliers (in Nova Scotia, Canada).

Buckingham Palace had repeatedly refused to comment, but previously said the duke’s military roles were in abeyance. Although the positions were temporarily inactive, Andrew had retained them.

In August, it was reported the Queen, who is Colonel in Chief of the Grenadier Guards and head of the armed forces, told insiders she wanted her son to remain as colonel of the regiment – an honour he took over from his father the Duke of Edinburgh.

“The feeling is that nobody wants to do anything that could cause upset to the colonel-in-chief – it is a very difficult, unsatisfactory situation,” a military source told the Sunday Times.

In November 2019 after the duke stepped down from public duties, a Palace spokeswoman said of his then-230 patronages: “He will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from all his patronages.”

More than 90 organisations still appear on the official website in the list of the duke’s charities and patronages.

One – The Foundation for Liver Research, of which Andrew was patron – said the duke was no longer its patron and the position had been left empty.

Charities rushed to distance themselves from the Queen’s second son after his disastrous Newsnight appearance about his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

This year is meant to be one of celebration for the Windsors, with the Queen less than a month away from reaching her Platinum Jubilee and the nation’s festivities for the historic occasion set for June.

Andrew had already quit public duties and was not even pictured in the publicly released photographs marking his daughter Princess Beatrice’s wedding last year.

Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.

The royal family is also set to gather for a thanksgiving service in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh in the spring.

The Westminster Abbey event, which may be televised, has the complication of being a family occasion for the Windsors and a public one for organisations Philip worked with during his decades of royal duty.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on whether Andrew would attend.

A source close to the duke said he would “continue to defend himself” against Ms Giuffre’s allegations following the judge’s decision to dismiss his legal team’s attempt to have the case thrown out.

The source said: “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. This is a marathon not a sprint and the duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.”

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