The United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew will face sexual-assault allegations as a private citizen, Buckingham Palace announced 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,” a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said in a statement sent to Insider. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
The prince is currently facing a legal battle against Virginia Giuffre Roberts, who filed a lawsuit in August 2021 accusing him of sexual assault. Giuffre alleged that Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in his New York mansion, in London, and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands in 2001 when she was 17.
A palace spokesperson told Insider in 2019 that it is “emphatically denied that The Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.”
Andrew will no longer use his HRH title in any official capacity, a royal source told Insider on Thursday. But some public figures are asking why he still gets to use his other royal titles, which include “prince” and “Duke of York.”
“If he’s stripped of title why is everyone still calling him prince Andrew instead of Andrew?” Jake Shields, a former UFC/MMA fighter wrote on Twitter.
“Prince Andrew still can’t be Duke of York. If the Queen is going to strip him of some, he should be stripped of everything for same reasons,” author and women’s rights activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu wrote on Twitter. “Losing HRH doesn’t cover it – after all Royal Family made Diana lose HRH status and she had to fight to keep Princess of Wales title.”
However, Buckingham Palace hasn’t removed his royal titles because it can’t — not without British Parliament. Doing so would be a complex process, according to Marlene Koenig, a royal historian and expert on British and European royalty.
As a son of the Queen, Andrew was born with his HRH title and prince title in 1960. He was made the Duke of York upon his marriage to Sarah Ferguson in 1986, The Guardian reported. Ferguson retained her Duchess of York title when they divorced a decade later.
Koenig told Insider that it would “take an act of Parliament followed by royal assent” to remove these titles.
She said Parliament could pass a bill similar to the Titles Deprivation Act 1917, which was introduced during the First World War to deprive “enemy royals” from retaining their titles.
Royal Assent is when the Queen agrees to pass a bill, making it a law. This is considered a formality, since Britain is a constitutional monarchy and the royals have no legal powers.
However, Koenig believes this step depends on the outcome of Giuffre’s lawsuit.
“If the verdict is in favor of Virginia, I think there will be further demotions for Andrew, but — and this is a big but — I do not think this case will get to a trial because I do not think Andrew will want to reach the discovery phase,” Koenig said.
The royal commentator Christopher Warwick told Sky News that it’s unlikely that the palace would support the title removal because it “wouldn’t cover Andrew or the monarchy in glory,” Page Six reports.
As Insider’s Samantha Grindell previously reported, the royal family appears to be on a “charm offensive,” sharing family photos and engaging with the press in hopes of positive coverage to distance itself from Andrew’s legal battle.
Representatives for Buckingham Palace and Prince Andrew did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.