Prince Andrew today lost any slim chance that he might hold onto more than a dozen military titles after he was warned he will face his upcoming civil sex assault lawsuit in America as a ‘private citizen’.
The Duke’s ceremonial military roles, which saw him take up prestigious titles of Canadian, New Zealand and British military units, were dramatically returned to the Queen on Thursday.
Andrew, who remains Duke of York, also loses his royal patronages ‘with the Queen’s approval and agreement’, Buckingham Palace said in a terse statement that brought his 61 years as a senior royal to a shock end.
Thursday’s announcement would come as a stinging blow to Andrew, a Falklands War veteran who once served in the Royal Navy as a helicopter pilot.
His military appointments and royal patronages are now set to be shared out among his fellow members of the royal household.
The Duke’s 15 ceremonial military roles, which saw him take up prestigious titles of Canadian, New Zealand and British military units, were dramatically returned to the Queen on Thursday
Buckingham Palace said in a statement this afternoon, which read: ‘With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen’
Andrew will no longer serve the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest and most emblematic regiments in the British Army. He is pictured above in the honourary Colonel’s uniform in 2019
He has also today lost his role as honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth. Andrew is pictured above in RAF regalia in Lossiemouth, Scotland in 2015
Among Andrew’s ceremonial naval titles included Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps. He is pictured in 2007 at Horse Guards Parade to commemorate 25 years since the Falklands War
Buckingham Palace announced the Queen’s decision to cast Andrew out of the royal fold in a statement released this afternoon.
‘With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,’ it read. ‘The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.’
As head of the armed forces, the Queen reserves the right to revoke any military title handed out by herself.
Tobias Ellwood MP, the chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, said he welcomed the removal of Andrew’s military titles.
He told the BBC’s Newcast podcast: ‘Prince Andrew already had stepped back from many of his public duties – I think all of them, as well – so I think this was anticipated, indeed it was expected, from this perspective, so I’m actually not surprised.’
Dickie Arbiter, a former royal press secretary, told the Times the Queen would be ‘very sad’ about the decision, but insisted she would do whatever necessary to protect ‘the interests of the institution’.
A royal source said the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, were involved in crisis talks over the matter. The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family.
The Palace had confirmed the Duke’s military appointments were ‘in abeyance’ after he stepped back from public duties in 2019.
Buckingham Palace announced the Prince’s military affiliations and royal patronages have all been returned to the Queen. He is pictured in uniform of the Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion (left) in 2011, and as Colonel in Chief of the Royal Irish Regiment in 2003 (right)
Prince Andrew in regalia of the 2nd Logistic Battalion in New Zealand. On Thursday, he lost his honourary title of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment
Andrew served in the Falklands War and started his military career as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in 1979
Duke of York, at the controls of a Warrior tracked armoured vehicle during a visit to the Staffordshire Regiment at Fallingbostel Station barracks in Bad Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany, 10th July 1989. The Duke was Colonel-in-Chief of the Staffordshire Regiment
But, prior to today, he still retained the roles, including the position of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest and most emblematic regiments in the British Army.
His other British honorary military titles are: Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth; Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment; Colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps; Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm; Royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers; Deputy colonel-in-chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own); and Royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
It comes after more than 150 veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand Andrew was removed from the honorary military positions.
Accusing the duke of bringing the services he is associated with into disrepute, the 152 former members of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army said that ‘were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post’.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said it had no comment about the duke’s military titles because it was a matter for the Palace.
Former BBC Royal Correspondent Jenny Bond said: ‘Clearly pressure has been exerted on him, and pressure on the Queen was growing for some action because of the disquiet within the military, and people beginning to say “we don’t want to toast his health” at the end of regimental dinners.
‘With the court procedures the way they are in the United States, this is going to roll on and on probably well into next year, thus overshadowing the Queen’s platinum jubilee year so that, I think, will be very much up in Prince Andrew’s mind.’
A Royal Navy veteran, Prince Andrew was named the Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps. He is pictured aboard the Indian aircraft carrier INS Viraat in Mumbai, India, in May 2012
The Prince has also lost the honourary roles of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, pictured in regalia, left, and Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment
The Duke of York was pictured sitting in the back of a Range Rover this morning as he was being driven from his house in Windsor Great Park
A stern-faced Prince Andrew broke his cover in Windsor this morning, with the duke seen seen sitting in the back of his £80,000 Range Rover while being driven from his home in Windsor Great Park.
Today, a source close to the royal said he would ‘continue to defend himself’ against Ms Giuffre’s allegations following the judge’s decision to dismiss his legal team’s attempt to have the case thrown out.
The source said: ‘Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. However, it was not a judgement on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations. This is a marathon not a sprint and the duke will continue to defend himself against these claims.’
It came as reports suggested he could avoid a trial by using the sale of his £18million Swiss chalet to try to pay off Ms Giuffre with at least £10million of the proceeds.
MailOnline revealed this week that Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah, the Duchess of York, settled a £6.6 million debt with a French socialite, paving the way for him to sell his beloved ski chalet to fund his alleged sex abuse case.
Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, sold her house, Chalet Helora, to her then-friends Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £18million, would be paid for in instalments. But Ms de Rouvre claimed the Yorks failed to make the final instalment of £5m for the property in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier – but this week the Yorks stumped up the cash, ending the legal battle and clearing the way for a sale.
With the chalet now on the market, the ninth in line to the throne will use up to £10million of the final sale price to settle with Ms Giuffre, according to The Sun, but without admission of liability to her claims she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was 17. He has repeatedly denied the claims.
Mark Stephens, an expert in constitutional law, has said that Andrew will need to find between £5million and £10million to offer Ms Giuffre and hope she spares him a trial.
He said: ‘Judge Lewis Kaplan has thrown a reasoned judicial decision like a bomb into the middle and the heart of the royal family and threatens to provoke constitutional crisis as a consequence’.
He said the duke has ‘no good options’, adding: ‘Essentially, I think he’s either going to have to engage in the trial process or he’s going to have to settle and that may well be his least worst option.’ He added: ‘There is a need to limit the damage. Andrew, I suspect will be stripped of his royal titles. A settlement of five or ten million is a good bet but Ms Giuffre may want her day in court.’
Prince Andrew is now facing the biggest gamble of his life after a judge in the US unequivocally rejected a bid to have his sex abuse case thrown out of court.
All of Prince Andrew’s titles and patronages he has now lost
The Queen has stripped the Duke of York of his honorary military roles and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace announced this evening.
The move is a major blow to Andrew, who is facing a looming civil sexual assault court showdown after a New York judge sensationally ruled yesterday that the case could go ahead.
Andrew’s honorary military titles
Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.