Royal no more. Prince Andrew has been stripped of his titles amid news that he could face trial in his ongoing sexual assault lawsuit.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” Buckingham Palace announced in a statement on Thursday, January 13. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Earlier this week, a judge dismissed the 61-year-old royal’s request to throw out a lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who claimed that the late Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell made her have sex with Andrew when she was 17 years old.
The prince’s lawyers claimed the lawsuit should be thrown out because of a settlement Giuffre, now 38, reached with Epstein in 2009, but the judge disagreed.
“Ms. Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous,’” Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote in his ruling on Wednesday, January 12. “It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”
According to CNN, the Duke of York has until July 14 to answer questions about the case under oath. If the case isn’t settled at that point, a trial date could be set between September and December.
In November 2019, Andrew announced that he would step back from his royal duties “for the foreseeable future” after his association with Epstein, who was found dead several months prior, and Maxwell, 60, made headlines.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the former helicopter pilot said at the time. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize 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.”
The palace’s latest announcement comes after weeks of speculation that Andrew would be forced to drop his title amid the ongoing scandal. Before retreating from his public life as a royal, he denied Giuffre’s allegations in a BBC interview.
“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever,” he said in November 2019. “It just never happened.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.