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“With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen," wrote Buckingham Palace in a statement.
- Prince Andrew is England’s Queen Elizabeth’s third child and second son. His reputation took a huge hit when allegations over his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein surfaced.
- He now faces a civil lawsuit in the United States over claims he sexually assaulted a woman named Virginia Giuffre (also known as Virginia Roberts) when she was 17. Giuffre is now 38.
- Giuffre alleges Epstein forced her to perform sex acts with the royal – claims that Andrew denies. She also sued Epstein in 2009, accusing him of sexually assaulting her when she was 15. Giuffre said Andrew forced her to have intercourse at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime associate.
- But then a settlement agreement between Epstein and Giuffre was made public earlier this week and included a section stating “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant from all, and all manner of, action and actions of Virginia Roberts" was released from liability.
- Andrew’s lawyers have called the lawsuit “baseless,” saying Giuffre is just using this to get money. They have also used the previous settlement between Epstein and Giuffre to say that Giuffre doesn’t have a right to sue Andrew.
- On Wednesday, Andrew’s lawyers failed to persuade a US judge to get the civil lawsuit against him thrown out.
- After this, Buckingham Palace said in a statement, “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."
- They added that he would stop using the title “His Royal Highness" in any official capacity.
- What this means is that Andrew will have to provide evidence demanded by Giuffre’s team if no settlement is reached between him and Giuffre between now and the trial. And after the Buckingham Palace announcement, it means that Andrew will have to defend himself as a private citizen.
- If the case goes to trial and Giuffre wins, Andrew could be ordered to pay Giuffre damages. The amount is not known. Because it’s a civil case, no criminal charges could result from Giuffre’s lawsuit.
- Any trial in the civil case would likely begin between September and December of this year.