Just one day after a U.S. judge advanced a lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl, the U.K.’s Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and charities.
Citing a royal source, CNN reported that Andrew will no longer use “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity.
“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 in a statement. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
On Wednesday, a federal judge in the United States declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts), who alleges that the Duke of York sexually assaulted her when she was 17 years old. She claims the incidents happened in two of Jeffrey Epstein’s properties in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as in now-convicted sex traffickers Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the prince’s arguments that a once-secret 2009 settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein shielded the royal from litigation. That Epstein deal protected “other potential defendants” from being sued by Giuffre, but the judge found that there was uncertainty at best as to what that phrase meant.
Giuffre’s since-settled lawsuit against Maxwell in 2015 has been credited with sparking Maxwell’s criminal prosecution. Prince Andrew has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing, but prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have called him uncooperative in their Epstein investigation.
According to CNN, a royal source said that “all of the Duke’s roles have been handed back to the Queen with immediate effect for redistribution to other members of the Royal Family. For clarity, they will not return to The Duke of York.”
The prince and Giuffre’s legal teams did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s emails requesting comment.
Giuffre’s legal team, however, celebrated the progression of the lawsuit to the discovery, or evidence-gathering, phase on Wednesday.
“Today’s decision by Judge Kaplan denying Prince Andrew’s effort to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s case against him is another important step in Virginia‘s heroic and determined pursuit of justice as a survivor of sex trafficking,” Giuffre’s attorney Sigrid McCawley said in a statement.
Co-counsel David Boies wrote that Giuffre is “pleased that Prince Andrew’s motion to dismiss has been denied, and that evidence will now be taken concerning her claims against him.”
“She looks forward to a judicial determination of the merits of those claims,” he added.
The prince’s lawyer Andrew Brettler did not respond to the ruling.
This is a developing story.
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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