The UK’s Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has returned his military affiliations and royal patronages to Queen Elizabeth, according to a statement by Buckingham Palace released on Thursday.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” said the announcement, which came as Prince Andrew faces a trial in the US over allegations of sexual assault.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending his case as a private citizen,” added the statement.
Local media also reported via a royal source that Prince Andrew, 61, would also no longer use the style “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity.
Virginia Giuffre, previously known as Virginia Roberts, who accused Prince Andrew, says she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with Prince Andrew. She said the prince “committed sexual assault and battery” against her, and accused him of forcing her to have sex with him at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home over 20 years ago.
Giuffre was just 17 at the time, meaning she was a minor under US law. Maxwell was convicted of sex trafficking at a trial in the US.
Prince Andrew denies her claims and attempted to have her civil sex case against him thrown out of the US court, though this was recently denied, setting the course for a civil trial.
The only way to avoid both Giuffre and Prince Andrew giving evidence in open court would be a settlement.
However, Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies told BBC Newsnight: “I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims.”
He added: “A purely financial settlement is not anything that I think she’s interested in.”
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