Charles and William teamed up to strip Andrew of titles


rince Charles and Prince William advised the Queen they both believed Andrew’s role in the royal family had become untenable ahead of her decision to strip him of his military titles, patronages and use of “His Royal Highness”.

The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge counselled the Queen that drastic action was needed after a US judge’s decision that Andrew’s civil trial over sex abuse allegations must proceed, with him determined to fight the allegations.

It was made clear to the Queen that as far as Charles and William were concerned, the royal family could not permit its association with Andrew, to damage the institution that they are obliged to serve and protect. A senior royal household source told the Standard: “It is up to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge to do their duty, no matter how painful personally, for the good of the institution of monarchy that they both serve and will one day lead.”

The move came after Andrew, 61, made it clear that he intended to fight to clear his name. He continues to strenuously deny the claims of abuse made by Virginia Giuffre.

The ultimate decision on Andrew would have fallen to the monarch. It represents his complete removal from official royal life, and an attempt to distance the monarchy from the duke, who was once second in line to the throne, in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Ms Giuffre today praised the court ruling enabling her civil sex case against him to proceed to trial. Judge Lewis A Kaplan on Wednesday dismissed a motion by Andrew’s lawyers to have the action thrown out after they argued Ms Giuffre had waived her right to pursue the royal by signing a confidential settlement with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Ms Giuffre is suing Andrew in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She wrote on Twitter: “I’m glad I will have the chance to continue to expose the truth & I am deeply grateful to my extraordinary legal team. My goal has always been to show that the rich and powerful are not above the law & must be held accountable. I do not walk this path alone, but alongside countless other survivors of sexual abuse & trafficking.”

A source close to the Duke of York, who keeps that title given to him by the Queen when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, said last night: “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.”

Buckingham Palace last night confirmed Andrew’s removal from official royal life 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.” Charles and William are understood to have advised the monarch, who is 96 in April, that the royal family had to clearly distance itself against fall-out from the allegations against Andrew, who is accused by Ms Giuffre of having sex with her three times when she was under 18 after being trafficked for sex by his friend Epstein.

The duke will have to defend himself against Ms Giuffre as a private citizen, and there will be no more references to “His Royal Highness” in the civil court case and in legal papers. It is claimed that this agreement is mutual, and the duke has stepped back rather than it being imposed. But it is understood that Andrew, who is particularly close to the Queen, is devastated by the turn of events. He will not take part in official Platinum Jubilee events marking her 70-year reign.

The former Falklands war helicopter pilot and Royal Navy officer’s military titles and royal roles will go to other members of the family, although he will retain his service rank of vice-admiral.

A senior member of the royal household said: “This means they won’t be coming back to Prince Andrew whatever the outcome of any legal proceedings. There really is no way back for him full stop.”

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