Buckingham Palace released an official statement on Thursday regarding Prince Andrew’s royal status, stating that his “military affiliations and Royal patronages” have been returned to the Queen and that he “will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
The decision was made “With The Queen’s approval and agreement,” and involved extensive discussions with other senior royals. It means that Prince Andrew will most likely keep his title, The Duke of York, and his place as ninth in line for the throne behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children. However, he will no longer be officially addressed as “His Royal Highness.”
The lawsuit was filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a trafficked victim of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who claims Epstein forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew at age 17. The Prince and his attorneys have denied these allegations.
Prince Andrew’s attempt to dismiss Giuffre’s case came after the discovery of a $500,000 settlement Epstein made with Guiffre stating she would not sue any other “potential defendant.”
As he refused to dismiss the case one Wednesday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote, “Ms. Giuffre’s complaint…alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.”
Guiffre has already refused to settle with Prince Andrew out of court, previously stating, “I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions. I hope that other victims will see that it is possible not to live in silence and fear, but to reclaim one’s life by speaking out and demanding justice.”
The Prince’s trial date could be set for the fall of 2022.