Queen strips Prince Andrew of royal titles, faces sexual assault case ‘as a citizen’

Prince Andrew has been forced to relinquish his royal duties as he faces a lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted an American woman when she was 17.

A statement fromBuckingham Palace, released today, said: “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 to not undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

The palace statement came after more than 150 navy and army veterans wrote to the Queen asking her to strip Andrew of all his military ranks and titles amid his continued legal troubles.

A federal judge in the United States earlier ruled that Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s civil sex abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew can proceed.

In a major blow for the royal, the judge denied “in all respects” the Duke of York’s request to dismiss the case.

Roberts Giuffre has long said the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his then girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, herself recently convicted of sex trafficking, forced her into sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17.

Prince Andrew’s lawyers said the case should be thrown out, citing a 2009 deal she signed with Epstein but a New York judge has ruled that the claim could be heard.

Prince Andrew has consistently denied the allegations, stating that he did not participate in the sexual exploitation of minors or witness such behaviour.

Giuffre’s lawyers are said to have been preparing to file evidence demands, including requesting that the prince provide medical proof that he is unable to sweat, a claim he made in his infamous BBC interview in 2019.

Prince Andrew also said he could not have met the alleged victim the day she says he did because he was at a Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey. Giuffre’s lawyers want to see proof of that Pizza Express visit.

The Duke has not yet publicly responded to the lawsuit and has been reportedly staying with his mother, the Queen, at her Scottish estate, Balmoral.

Among Prince Andrew’s patronages are Outward Bound International and the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own).

The Daily Mail reported a royal source as saying the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, were involved in crisis talks over the matter. The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family.

“The decision to shred Andrew’s military ties is likely to be particularly painful for the Royal Navy veteran, who served with distinction as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War,” the Mail reported.

The Palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019. But, prior to today, he still retained the roles, including the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest and most emblematic regiments in the British Army.

His other British honorary military titles are: 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.

The Mail reported “a stern-faced” Andrew broke his cover in Windsor this morning, with the duke seen seen sitting in the back of his £80,000 Range Rover while being driven from his home in Windsor Great Park.

A source close to the royal said he would “continue to defend himself” against Giuffre’s allegations, the Mail reported.

The source said: ‘Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. 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.’

It came as reports suggested he could avoid a trial by using the sale of his £18million Swiss chalet to try to pay off Ms Giuffre with at least £10million of the proceeds.

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