Prince Andrew, Duke of York has been stripped of his military and royal titles as he faces a child sexual abuse lawsuit in the United States.
On Thursday, Buckingham Palace said in a statement that Andrew’s “military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen.” Queen Elizabeth,95, reportedly supported the decision.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” the statement also reads.
A statement from Buckingham Palace regarding The Duke of York: pic.twitter.com/OCeSqzCP38
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) January 13, 2022
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Prince Andrew, 61, must face a lawsuit in which Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, accuses him of sexually abusing her she was 17. She alleges that Andrew and late billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually assaulted her multiple times in 2001.
Earlier this month, the terms of a 2009 settlement between Giuffre and Epstein were released to the public as part of Giuffre’s lawsuit against Prince Andrew. The document revealed that Giuffre was paid $500,000 in the settlement — which Prince Andrew unsuccessfully tried to stop from being released to the public.
As part of the settlement, Giuffre agreed to “release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge” Epstein and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant.”
Prince Andrew’s legal team has argued that the 2009 settlement legally shielded him from civil lawsuits like the one Giuffre has filed against him. While he was not mentioned by name in the settlement, he is presumably arguing that he was referenced as a “potential defendant.”
Judge Kaplan said on Wednesday that it is too soon to tell whether the settlement “clearly and unambiguously” protected Andrew from being sued. Andrew will have the opportunity to dispute Giuffre’s allegations at trial, the judge said.
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[Featured image: Prince Andrew/Victoria Jones/Pool via AP, File]