Prince Andrew will no longer be known as His Royal Highness ‘in any official capacity’ in a stunning downfall as his family tonight abandoned him to fight his sex abuse lawsuit in America as a private citizen.
Andrew, who remains Duke of York, also loses his military titles and 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.
He is only the 5th royal in recent history to stop officially using the HRH title, with Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York, losing the styling after their divorce, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle agreed to lose theirs publicly as part of their ‘Megxit’ deal with the Queen.
But like Harry and Meghan, Andrew will privately retain the title inside Palace walls, meaning he will not have to start bowing to HRH members of the family such as Prince George.
The decision to shred Andrew’s military ties is likely to be particularly painful for the Royal Navy veteran, who served with distinction as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War.
It comes after a day after a US judge unequivocally rejected the prince’s bid to have his sex abuse case thrown out, leaving him facing the prospect of being cross-examined for seven hours on camera with embarrassing questions on everything from his sex life and ‘private parts’.
Andrew has been urged to settle out of court with his accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre ‘for the sake of his mother’, who celebrates her Platinum Jubilee this year. But he could face difficulties given Ms Giuffre is said to be pushing for ‘her day in court.’
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.’
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 said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019. 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’. The Queen is head of the armed forces and honorary military appointments are in her gift.