Today, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Andrew has surrendered his military affiliations and royal patronages amidst the sexual assault lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre.
The announcement was made public via an official statement posted on social media, and it reads, "With The Queen's approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen."
One source also told news outlets Prince Andrew will no longer use "His Royal Highness" or HRH in any official capacity.
The decision followed yesterday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who rejected a motion by Prince Andrew’s lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit brought against him by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre claims that Prince Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17. She asserts she met Andrew when she accompanied Epstein on trips between 2000 and 2002, during which period she was allegedly "on call for Epstein for sexual purposes" and was "lent out to other powerful men” – which could include Prince Andrew.
Giuffre sued Andrew in August 2021, alleging Epstein and his accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell coerced her into sexual encounters with the prince in 2001. She claims she was sexually abused by Andrew at Maxwell’s London home, at Epstein’s New York mansion, and his estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Judge Kaplan dismissed Andrew’s attorneys’ bid to throw out the lawsuit. Andrew’s legal team argued the suit should be thrown out because of a previous 2009 settlement Giuffre reached with Epstein, in which she received $500,000. That agreement included a clause protecting "any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant,” which the prince’s lawyers argue includes him.
Judge Kaplan disagrees, however, stating that the 2009 deal "cannot be seen" to benefit Andrew.
Mark Stephens, a specialist in international law at Howard Kennedy in London, told Fox News that Andrew is likely to appeal, but will be unsuccessful and will ultimately have to testify about his alleged activities with 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre.
"The practical realities of this position have stuck a noose around Prince Andrew’s neck," Stephens said. "He’s got to settle. He’s got to get out. Or he’s a dead man walking."
The trial won't occur until late this year, at the earliest. Depositions of Prince Andrew and Giuffre will take place before then.