By John Ikani
Queen Elizabeth II revoked Prince Andrew’s military associations and royal patronages on Thursday, a day after a federal judge in New York refused to dismiss a sexual abuse lawsuit by an American woman against him.
Andrew, 61, the queen’s second son, was sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, who alleges that Andrew raped and sexually assaulted her in New York in 2001 when she was 17. She claims that Andrew’s friend Jeffery Epstein trafficked her to him and that the Prince knew it.
Earlier, the British royal’s legal team sought to have the case, lodged by survivor Virginia Guiffre, 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 agreement “cannot be said to demonstrate, clearly and unambiguously, that the parties intended the instrument ‘directly,’ ‘primarily,’ or ‘substantially’ to benefit Prince Andrew.”
Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday, that the Duke of York will be defending a civil sex abuse lawsuit in the United States as a private citizen.
A royal source told Reuters that Andrew will no longer use “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity, and that the queen will redistribute his roles among other royal family members.
The move to disassociate Andrew from his much-prized military affiliations has been a long time coming, but gained force in recent weeks as proceedings in the civil suit in New York persisted, despite Andrew’s lawyers’ efforts to get it dismissed.
More than 150 British military veterans petitioned the queen to remove Andrew’s titles in an open letter published early on Thursday by Republic, an anti-monarchy group in the U.K.
The veterans accused Prince Andrew of bringing disrespect to the military services he had been associated with. The letter to the Queen said that “were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post”.
Andrew served in the Royal Navy as a pilot and saw service in the Falklands War in 1982, from which he returned as something of a hero to many royal fans.
In 2017 the Queen named him Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, an elite infantry regiment of the British Army, an honorary post once held by his father, Prince Philip. He was also a royal patron of more than 100 charities, many with links to the military.
The stripping of Andrew’s titles comes amid the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, a yearlong series of events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of her coronation in 1953.