UPDATE: Queen Elizabeth II has removed all of Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages days after it emerged that her son, who is also known as the Duke of York, will face a civil trial in New York after his motion to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault case was thrown out by a judge.
A statement from Buckingham Palace, released Thursday evening U.K. time, reads: “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.”
Although his HRH (His Royal Highness) title, which was bestowed on him at birth, has not been removed, the prince has, at the Queen’s request, agreed he will no longer use the title in a professional capacity, reports the BBC. According to ITV’s royal correspondent Chris Ship, the monarch broke the news to her second son in person on Thursday.
The swift move from the Queen comes as Prince Andrew finally breaks his silence on the latest legal development that will see him face a civil trial.
“Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling,” a spokesperson tells Variety. “However, it was not a judgement 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.”
Royal patronages are effectively a figurehead position at a charity or other organization. Prince Andrew initially gave up over 230 of these, including patronage of the English National Ballet, Commonwealth Golfing Society and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, after his disastrous “Newsnight” interview in 2019.
The interview was widely mocked following Prince Andrew’s claims he had been at a pizza restaurant in Woking on the night Giuffre alleges he sexually assaulted her and that he was “medically” incapable of sweating, in response to Giuffre’s recollection of him “sweating profusely” as he danced in a nightclub.
According to the Daily Express newspaper, Prince Andrew managed to cling onto a “handful” of patronages following the interview, mostly consisting of golf clubs who were reluctant to give up the allure of a royal figurehead.
Following the Queen’s intervention, however, Prince Andrew has now given up his remaining patronages.
Because the Queen is head of the British armed forces, with the power to bestow honorary military appointments, Prince Andrew also had a number of titles in the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment and Royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
These have also now been removed, effectively leaving the prince a “private” citizen, despite his royal birth.
The Queen’s unprecedented intervention, which comes in the year of her jubilee, celebrating 70 years on the throne, follows Wednesday’s news that a New York judge had thrown out Prince Andrew’s motion to dismiss Giuffre’s civil case.
The British royal’s legal team sought to have Giuffre’s case dismissed on the basis that it was “legally insufficient,” largely due to a settlement she signed in 2009 with Epstein, which Prince Andrew claimed released him from any liability. However, a judge denied the motion on Wednesday, noting that the 2009 agreement “cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, that the parties intended the instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially’ to benefit Prince Andrew.”
That means that the royal, who is ninth in line to the throne, will be forced to fight Giuffre’s claims of sexual assault in a New York courtroom.
Giuffre alleges that Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her when she was 17. She is suing for battery and “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Giuffre has long claimed she was the victim of a sex trafficking ring presided over by Epstein in which the now-deceased financier passed her and other victims around powerful friends and acquaintances between 1999 and 2007.
As the case is a civil matter, however, there is no suggestion that, at this stage, he could face any jail time, unlike his close friend Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently convicted on charges of sex trafficking linked to Epstein’s activities.