Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and will no longer use ‘His Royal Highness’ in any official capacity as the abuse case against him gains momentum in the courts.
Buckingham Palace has announced that “with the Queen’s approval and agreement” the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the monarch.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” the palace said in a statement.
A royal source said Andrew, the Queen’s second son, would no longer use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity and his other roles would be distributed among other members of the royal family.
They will not return to Prince Andrew.
The move represents the duke’s complete removal from official royal life, and an attempt to distance the royal family from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne as the spare to the heir, in the year of the Queen’s platinum jubilee.
The development is a major blow for the embattled royal, who faces a court showdown after a US judge ruled on Wednesday that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against him could go ahead.
Andrew’s lawyers failed to persuade the judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit that accuses him of sexual abuse.
A source said the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles – as well as Andrew – was involved in crisis talks.
The decision to remove the duke’s military roles and royal patronages will have been difficult for the Queen, for a son who denies the allegations and is reportedly a favourite child.
It came after more than 150 British veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand Andrew be removed from the honorary military positions.
Accusing the duke of bringing the services he was associated with into disrepute, the 152 former members of the royal navy, air force and army said that “were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post”.
The Queen is head of the armed forces and honorary military appointments are in her gift.
The palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019, following a disastrous TV interview in which he denied even knowing Ms Guiffre.
But he had retained the roles, leaving the eight British regiments, including the Grenadier Guards of which he was colonel, in limbo more than two years on.
Ms Giuffre, who is sometimes known by her married name of Roberts and now lives in Australia, is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.
A source close to Andrew said he would “continue to defend himself” against Ms Giuffre’s allegations following the judge’s decision to dismiss his legal team’s attempt to have the case thrown out.
“Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling,” the source said.
“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.”