LONDON. Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II, has been forced to relinquish his military ranks and royal charities, Buckingham Palace said Thursday in a scathing rebuke from the British royal family a day after a federal judge in New York ruled sexual assault against him will be filed.
The palace said Andrew, 61, who was accused by Virginia Giuffre of raping her when she was a teenager, will also no longer use the title “His Royal Highness,” a prized symbol of his status as a high-ranking member of the royal family. family. A brief statement at the palace said that Andrew “continues not to take on any public duties” and that he “protects this case as a private individual.”
Andrew, also known as the Duke of York, has denied Ms Giuffre’s allegations that he was friends with financier and convicted sex maniac Jeffrey Epstein. Duke’s lawyers tried to get her lawsuit dismissed, but Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled against him Wednesday.
The Buckingham Palace decision ends the stunning downfall of a man who was once one of the most popular members of the royal family – a dashing war hero and eligible bachelor – but has since become a disgraced figure and is left to explain why he got involved with a convicted felon as Mr. Mr Epstein.
Buckingham Palace’s announcement came after extensive discussions within the royal family, according to people associated with the palace. According to one person, this was done to thwart Andrew’s efforts to rehabilitate himself. The language of Buckingham Palace’s statement was meant to emphasize the persistence of the sanctions against it, officials said.
Andrew has been largely banished from public life since November 2019 when he gave a disastrous BBC interview in which he insisted he had never met Ms Giuffre and made some bizarre claims to dismiss her allegations, including that he was medically incompetent. sweating, she claimed.
But the prince, who served as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War, continued to hold several honorary military ranks, some of which he inherited from his late father, Prince Philip. This caused protests from the veterans of these units, who said that it was indecent to be under the command of a person who was under such accusations.
The decision to strip Andrew of his military titles and the honorary title of “His Royal Highness” puts him on a par with his nephew, Prince Harry, who was forced to surrender after he and his wife Meghan stepped down from royal duties and moved to Southern California in 2020. .
But this could dampen Andrew’s reputation as he fights the allegations as he will no longer have the weight of the crown behind him.
A palace official said all the roles of a duke have returned to the queen and will be transferred to other members of the royal family. The official said that the duke’s honors would not be returned to him.
The final nature of the Buckingham Palace statement seemed calculated to keep the Queen as far away as possible from any potentially sinister revelations that could emerge from the testimony of the Prince, Ms Giuffre or other witnesses if the case went to trial.
In his ruling on Andrew’s motion to dismiss, the judge summarized the allegations contained in Ms. Giuffre’s claim. In one, which occurred during a visit to Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan home, she said that Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of Mr. Epstein and the Prince, made her “sit on Prince Andrew’s lap when Prince Andrew touched her.”
Last month, Ms. Maxwell was convicted on five of the six criminal charges against her, including sex trafficking. Epstein, 66, was found hanged in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking. His death was ruled a suicide. Andrew was not charged with a crime and only figured indirectly in Ms. Maxwell’s trial.
Although the prince has now largely disappeared from public view, his military affiliation has been a constant source of tension at a time when the royal family hoped to showcase the queen’s 70 years on the throne.
More than 150 Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army veterans have signed a letter to the Queen requesting that Andrew be stripped of his eight British military positions, including Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Irish Regiment, Royal Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. and Colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
Julian Perreira, a former sergeant in the Grenadier Guards who served in Afghanistan, recently told The Times of London that Andrew “should retire immediately.”
Deal with the allegations against Prince Andrew
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“By being able to retain the role of colonel of the Grenadier Guards and other military ranks, Prince Andrew will tarnish the glorious history of the regiment and devalue the hard work of past and future generations of grenadiers,” Mr. Perreira wrote.
Andrew’s reputation, according to critics, was not helped by his legal maneuvers. Instead of directly confronting Ms Giuffre’s accusations, the prince went out of his way to avoid filing legal paperwork in the UK. His lawyers have tried to get the case dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, and most recently on a 2009 settlement between Ms. Giuffre and Mr. Epstein.
Under the agreement, Mr. Epstein paid Ms. Giuffre $500,000 to settle a lawsuit in which she accused Mr. Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager, according to a deal that was unsealed this month. .
Under the terms of that agreement, Ms. Giuffre exempted Mr. Epstein and the other “potential defendants” from further legal proceedings, which, according to the Duke’s lawyers, included him. In rejecting Andrew’s argument, Judge Kaplan did not address the substance of Ms Giuffre’s claims.
Royal watchers said the prospect of a lengthy legal battle would cast a shadow over the queen’s platinum jubilee year, which unofficially kicked off earlier this week with Buckingham Palace launching a nationwide competition for the best “platinum pudding” recipe.