Prince Andrew on Thursday was stripped of his honorary military titles and royal roles in charities and other civic groups. Buckingham Palace made the announcement amid a growing furor over allegations that the former Duke of York sexually abused a teenage girl supplied to him by financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The palace said in a brief statement that “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,” the statement added.
Patronages refer to roles in charities, military and civic groups that the royals support.
However, Andrew still retains his military rank of Vice Admiral. He served in the Royal Navy and was given the three-star flag officer rank on his 55th birthday in 2015. The former Duke of York was due to be promoted to Admiral on his 60th birthday in 2020. However, he was asked to defer the promotion after he stepped down from public duties.
He loses his honorary titles at Royal Portrush and Royal County Down golf clubs in Northern Ireland. But remains in the line of succession to the throne and as such is still a Counsellor of State.
More than 150 British navy and army veterans had written to the queen asking her to strip her second son of all his military ranks and titles after a U.S. judge said Wednesday a sex assault lawsuit against the prince could go ahead.
In a joint letter issued by the group Republic, they said they were “upset and angry” that Andrew “brought the services he is associated with into disrepute.”
The queen is head of the armed forces and honorary military appointments are given by her.
Andrew stepped back from public duties in 2019, after a BBC interview about his friendship with Epstein drew widespread criticism. But he had retained his honorary titles, including Vice Admiral of the Royal Navy, until now.
A U.S. district judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss a civil case against Andrew by an American woman, Virginia Giuffre.
Giuffre sued the 61-year-old Andrew in August, saying she was coerced into sexual encounters with him in 2001, when she was 17, by Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said she was sexually abused by Andrew at Maxwell’s London home, at Epstein’s New York mansion and his estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
With inputs from the Associated Press