Prince Andrew loses military affiliations, royal patronages amid sex abuse lawsuit

Prince Andrew loses military affiliations, royal patronages amid sex abuse lawsuit

Queen Elizabeth has stripped Prince Andrew of all his honorary military titles and royal roles in charities and other civic groups, Buckingham Palace said Thursday, amid a growing furor over allegations he sexually abused a teenage girl supplied to him by Jeffrey Epstein.

More than 150 navy and army veterans had written to the Queen asking her to strip Andrew, 61, of all his military ranks and titles after a U.S. judge said Wednesday a sex assault lawsuit against him could go ahead.

In a joint letter issued by the group Republic, they said Andrew had "brought the services he is associated [with] into disrepute."

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."

Patronages refer to roles in charities, military and civic groups that the royals support.

A statement from Buckingham Palace regarding The Duke of York:

"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen," the statement added.

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, a convicted sex offender who died by suicide in jail a few months earlier, drew widespread criticism. But Andrew had retained his honorary titles, including vice admiral of the Royal Navy, until now.

Judge rejects bid to dismiss case

A U.S. district judge in New York City on Wednesday refused to dismiss a civil case against Andrew by Virginia Giuffre.

Giuffre sued Andrew in August, saying she was coerced into sexual encounters with him when she was 17 in 2001 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 at his estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected an argument by Andrew's lawyers that Giuffre's lawsuit should be thrown out at an early stage because of an old legal settlement she had with Epstein, who she claims set up sexual encounters with the prince.

Epstein killed himself at age 66 in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

WATCH |  U.S. judge rejects Prince Andrew's bid to dismiss sex abuse lawsuit: 

U.S. judge rejects Prince Andrew's bid to dismiss sex abuse accuser lawsuit

17 hours ago
Duration 2:04
Prince Andrew has failed to convince a U.S. judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the Duke of York of sexually abusing Virginia Giuffre when she was underage. 2:04

Kaplan stressed that he wasn't ruling on the truth of the allegations.

Andrew's lawyers have said that the royal never sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre and that he "unequivocally denies Giuffre's false allegations against him."

Palace officials have declined to comment on the "ongoing legal matter."