LONDON: The Royal Family removed Prince Andrew’s military links and royal patronages on Thursday and said he will no longer be known as `His Royal Highness’, as the son of Queen Elizabeth fights a US 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 US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and after a disastrous BBC TV interview which the prince had hoped would clear his name.
Thursday’s move by the royal family means he will now lose all his royal connections.
“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 US judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit in which Virginia Giuffre accuses him of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.
US District Judge Lewis Kaplan said Giuffre, 38, could pursue claims that Andrew battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress while Epstein – a financier who killed himself in jail in August 2019 while awaiting his sex trafficking trial – was trafficking her.
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.
The judge’s decision means Andrew could be forced to give evidence at a trial which could begin between September and December 2022 if no settlement were reached.