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Queen of England revokes military, royal titles from Prince Andrew, as US civil lawsuit proceeds in New York

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Prince Andrew, then the Duke of Kent, speaks at the Battle of the Atlantic Charity Reception and Dinner onboard HMS ILLUSTRIOUS in London in 2013. Image courtesy of Dean Dixon on Royal Navy Media Archive | Flickr

Queen Elizabeth II has revoked Prince Andrew’s royal patronages and military titles, in response to a forceful letter from armed forces veterans, as a US civil lawsuit against the Duke of York proceeds in the state of New York.

The prince, who is the British Queen’s third child and second son, is accused of child sexual abuse in the US — claims which he has repeatedly denied.

In an official statement, Buckingham Palace 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 61 year old may also no longer officially use the phrase “His Royal Highness” in an official capacity, the BBC reported.

The announcement comes a day after former members of the British armed forces sent a letter to the Queen calling for her to remove all of Andrew’s military ranks and titles, as well as for him to be dishonourably discharged.

The veterans’ letter of discontent was sent after the duke failed to dismiss a US civil lawsuit filed against him by Virginia Giuffre, an accuser of the late financier, socialite and convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. It also follows the conviction of Epstein’s former partner Ghislaine Maxwell for sex trafficking last month.

“Now that Ghislaine Maxwell has been convicted of sex trafficking, a number of facts of the matter have been established in a court of law,” the veterans wrote. “Regardless of the result of Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against Prince Andrew, his position in Britain’s armed forces is now untenable.”

On Wednesday, federal judge Lewis Kaplan blocked the prince’s effort to dismiss Guiffre’s lawsuit against him in New York, CNN reported.

“Ms. Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous,'” Judge Kaplan wrote in his ruling. “It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”

The woman alleges that Prince Andrew forced her to have sex with him in 2001, when she was only 17 and known by her maiden name, Roberts, the BBC reported. She claims that Andrew was aware that Epstein had trafficked her for underage sexual exploitation in the US and the UK.

The duke has consistently denied any knowledge of the woman, including a photo taken with her.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” the statement from Buckingham concluded.

Prince Andrew has yet to reply, though he has previously attempted to clear his name and clarify his relationship with Epstein.

A video interview from November 2019 with BBC’s Newsnight was described as a “car crash,” raising more questions than it gave answers. A few days later, he decided to “[step] back from his public duties for the foreseeable future,” according to his profile page for the royal family.

Read Prince Andrew’s full statement from November 2019 regarding his disassociation with Epstein below:

It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.

Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.

I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.

In a December 2019 interview with the BBC, Guiffre responded with a plea for the British people to stand on her side.

“I implore the people in the UK to stand up beside me, to help me fight this fight, to not accept this as being OK,” she said.

“This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of abuse, and this is a story of your guys’ royalty.”

 

SOURCES: BBC | CNN | AP | Insider | The British Monarchy

 

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