The Queen has stripped Prince Andrew of all his military titles and royal patronages in the wake of a US judge allowing a civil sexual abuse case to move to trial against her son. And the queen conveyed the message personally to Andrew. In a brutal two-line statement Buckingham Palace also forced him to drop His Royal Highness (HRH) title and dashed his hopes of resuming public duties.
"Son, you're grounded." Prince Andrew was told face-to-face by his mother, Queen Elizabeth, that he will no longer be known as His Royal Highness, on Thursday. This comes a day after the royal's lawyers failed to persuade a U.S. judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit that accuses him of sexual abuse.
Andrew, who now ceases to be the Duke of York, will now defend the case as a "private citizen" Buckingham Palace said, and he will also no longer be called HRH in any official capacity. According to the palace sources, the "ruthless and swift" decision had been "widely discussed" within the Royal Family for the past few days after Andrew failed to persuade the US judge to dismiss the civil lawsuit in which he is accused of having sex with a trafficking victim.
Before being stripped of all his titles, Andrew was driven a few miles form his home, the Royal Lodge, to the Windsor Castle on Thursday morning to be conveyed the news personally by the Queen.
The Queen there personally broke the news to the Duke of York that he was being stripped of all his military and royal titles in the wake of the sexual assault lawsuit brought against him by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Although Andrew has time and again denied the charges, on Thursday at the Windsor Castle, he was just a mere audience when he was told by Queen Elizabeth that he will no longer be known as His Royal Highness "in any official capacity."
"With The Queen's approval and agreement, The Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen," an official statement from the Buckingham Palace read.
"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen," it said. According to reports, Prince Charles and Prince William too were taken into confidence by the palace authorities before the Queen announced her decision.
Punished by His Own
The decision doesn't come as a surprise given that the Royals are known to go to any extent to safeguard their honor and prestige. Andrew becomes only the fifth royal in history to stop using the HRH title. However, it's for all the wrong reasons.
The other four in recent history to have stopped using the HRH title are Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York. The two lost the title after their divorces from Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, respectively.
In 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle agreed to lose their title as part of their "Megxit" deal with the Queen.
Andrew served in Britain's Royal Navy, and he flew a number of missions in the British-Argentine war of 1982, which was fought over the remote Falkland Islands. The 73-day conflict that ended in the death of 904 people took place after Argentina tried to reclaim the South American islands from the U.K.
The Duke of York's current roles â including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest regiments in the British army â will now be handed to other members of the royal family, with the details of the new arrangement to be announced soon.
According to a New York Post report, sources speculated that the Queen, who is believed to have been funding Andrew's legal defense from her private accounts, may continue to do so. It's reported that he receives around $323,000 a year from her.
A source told the DailyMial.com that the decision to strip Andrew of his titles would have "pained" the Queen enormously, given Andrew's position as her so-called favorite son. But just as with Harry and Meghan, the 95-year-old monarch would have known she needed to act for the sake of the monarchy and her legacy.
The royal's reputation has been tarnished in recent years because of Andrew's relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his confidant, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of five federal sex trafficking charges last month in New York City.