Prince Andrew is stripped of all his honorary military roles and royal patronages by the Queen

The Duke of York will no longer use his HRH style and the Queen has stripped him of his honorary military roles and royal patronages in a dramatic fallout from his civil sexual assault case.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 5:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 7:45 pm

Andrew, who was born an HRH, will not use it any official capacity, a royal source said.

His honorary military titles include colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment, a role which often brought him to Northern Ireland.

The move represents the duke’s complete removal from official royal life, and an attempt to distance the royal family from Andrew, who was once second in line to the throne as the spare to the heir, in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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Prince Andrew, Duke of York at the Royal Irish Regiment, of which he was Colonel in Chief, in east Belfast in 2014. He has now been stripped of such titles. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

The development is a major blow for the duke who is facing a court showdown after a judge ruled on Wednesday that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against him could go ahead.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday: “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.”

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, was involved in crisis talks over the matter.

The Duke of York, who is Colonel in Chief of the Royal Irish Regiment, jokes with new recruits to the regiment, at a passing out parade at the Regiment's Headquarters in Ballymena, Northern Ireland on St Patrick's Day in 2003. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

The decision to remove the duke’s military roles and royal patronages will have been a difficult one for the Queen for a son who denies the allegations against him.

The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family.

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”.

The Duke of York in 2019, in his role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards, at a memorial in Bruges to mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Belgian town. The Duke's military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, Buckingham Palace has announced. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Queen is head of the armed forces and honorary military appointments are in her gift.

The Palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019.

But until now he still retained the roles, which left the eight British regiments, including the Grenadier Guards of which he was Colonel, in limbo more than two years on.

Ms Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

The Duke of York, Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, in his first year as the inspecting officer after taking over the role from his father the Duke of Edinburgh late in 2017, during the Colonel's Review on The Mall in London. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law.

The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.

A source close to the duke 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 judgment 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.”

The duke was Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest and most emblematic regiments in the British Army.

The Duke of York in May 2011 watches as soldiers from Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS), take part in a homecoming Parade in Penicuik, Scotland. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire

His other British honorary military titles were: Honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth; 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.

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