The Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the embattled Britain’s Prince Andrew has returned his military affiliations and royal patronages to Queen Elizabeth II.
This development comes a day after the royal’s lawyers failed to persuade a U.S. judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit that accuses him of sexual abuse.
In a statement, the 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 Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen”.
In view of this development, Andrew will no longer use the style “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity, a royal source told newsmen.
It should be noted that Andrew served in Britain’s Royal Navy, and he flew a number of missions in the British-Argentine war of 1982, which was fought over the remote Falkland Islands.
Records have it that the 73-day conflict that claimed the lives of 904 people took place after Argentina tried to reclaim the South American islands from the U.K.
Andrew remained on active duty after the war ended, and while most of his service was in naval aviation, he also commanded a mine countermeasures warship. Promoted to commander in 1999, he retired from active service two years later.
According to reports, the royal’s reputation has been tarnished in recent years because of his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his confidant, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of five federal sex trafficking charges last month in New York City.
The announcement about Andrew’s titles by Buckingham Palace came after a judge in the United States rejected his bid to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that he sexually abused her when she was 17 years old.
Giuffre, now 38, has alleged that Epstein and Maxwell forced her to have sex with Andrew in the 1990s. Andrew has repeatedly denied the allegation.
In the recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan for the Southern District of New York averred that it was premature to consider the prince’s efforts to cast doubt on Giuffre’s accusations, though he would be allowed to do so at a trial.
Reports have it that Andrew’s lawyers had tried earlier this month to block the lawsuit and released details of a legal settlement in which she took $500,000 from the financier not to bring further legal action.
It was also stated that they had previously tried to block the lawsuit on the grounds that Giuffre lives in Australia and not the United States. That was also rejected by a federal judge.
Speaking on the ground of anonymity, a source close to Prince Andrew said they were “unsurprised” by Kaplan’s ruling. “However, it was not a judgment 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,” they added.
It would be recalled that in a 2019 interview with the BBC, Andrew said he has “no recollection” of ever having met Giuffre. He also suggested that a photograph of them together with Maxwell could have been doctored.
However, Giuffre’s suit alleges that Andrew abused her at three locations — in London and New York and at Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, when she was under age 18.