Prince Andrew has renounced his military titles and association sponsorships, Buckingham Palace announced this evening, the day after the American justice refused to file the civil complaint which accuses the prince of sexual assault. “With the Queen’s consent and approval, the military affiliations and royal sponsorships of the Duke of York have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue to refrain from public office and is defending himself in this matter as a private citizen, ”the palace said in a statement.
Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II, faces the prospect of a civil lawsuit in the United States. New York judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Wednesday January 12 in favor of the arguments of the plaintiff, Virginia Giuffre, who accuses the Duke of York, 61, of having sexually abused her on three occasions in 2001, when ‘she was still a minor (17 years old).
This decision further damages the prince’s reputation and is a blow to the British royal family, who would have preferred to devote the year 2022 to the celebration of the sovereign’s platinum jubilee (70 years of reign), rather than to a great judicial unpacking with worldwide media resonance.
Virginia Giuffre (née Roberts) claims to have been forced into sex with the prince in London, New York and the Caribbean by American sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein (a friend of the prince, who committed suicide in prison in 2019) and her partner Ghislaine Maxwell, convicted at the end of 2021 of sex trafficking in adolescents.
The Duke of York has always denied these allegations. In recent months, his lawyers have tried to prevent a trial, their last attempt being the evocation of a clause, in an out-of-court settlement signed in 2009 between Mr Epstein and Virginia Roberts, which they believe , prevented the latter from prosecuting people other than the American financier for sexual assault. Kaplan J. disagreed with their arguments. Its decision is subject to appeal.