Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages have been stripped by Queen Elizabeth II.
The moves come as the embattled royal is facing a sex abuse trial against Virginia Roberts Giuffre, for which he will have to defend himself as a “private citizen.”
“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 said Thursday evening in a statement. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
According to the BBC, Prince Andrew will no longer be called His Royal Highness.
Giuffre, a longtime accuser of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, filed a lawsuit last year against Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, accusing him of sexual abuse. On Wednesday, a U.S. district judge refused to dismiss the civil case against Prince Andrew.
In the suit, filed in New York federal court, Giuffre accused the 61-year-old prince of sexually abusing her at Epstein’s Manhattan home when she was under the age of 18, and of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions,” Giuffre said in a statement to media. “I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but one can reclaim her life by speaking out and demanding justice.”
In a 2019 BBC interview, Andrew denied the allegations. “I’ve said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever,” the prince said, when questioned about Giuffre’s allegations against him.
Giuffre, now a 38-year-old mother living in Australia, first accused the royal of sexual abuse in public court filings in December 2014.