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Prince Andrew sent into private citizenship amid sex assault civil suit

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Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2022. 9:39 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has returned his military titles and royal patronages to the Queen, the BBC quotes Buckingham Palace as saying, and will stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity.

Prince Andrew, 61, is being sued by Virginia Giuffre, 38, who accuses him of abusing her on three occasions – both in the UK and the US – when she was a minor under US law. She alleged that part of her abuse as the victim of sex trafficking and abuse by the late billionaire financier, Jeffrey Epstein, involved being loaned out to other powerful men, including Prince Andrew when she was 17. He denies ever having met her, much less having intercourse with her.

A judge ruled on Wednesday that the civil action could proceed, but a royal source said this was “not a judgment on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations”.

Buckingham Palace said in part in a statement: “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

The various roles held by the prince will be redistributed to other members of the Royal Family, a source said, after wide discussion.

The duke had a 22-year career in the Royal Navy, and served as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War. He has now dropped no less than eight military titles including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards – one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British army. He will also lose several overseas honorary roles but retain his service rank of Vice-Admiral, the Palace has confirmed, though he deferred a promotion to Admiral on his 60th birthday in 2020.

Several other charities and organizations had cut their ties with the duke, but he continued to hold dozens of royal patronages – including being a patron or member of prestigious golf clubs, schools, and cultural trusts.

Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies said a money settlement alone will not be enough for his client – telling the BBC she wants to be vindicated.

The prince’s lawyers had argued her case should be dismissed, citing a 2009 deal she signed with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

But in a 46-page decision, Judge Lewis A Kaplan dismissed Prince Andrew’s contention that the case against him was “legally insufficient” and could not go on to be heard at a future trial.

Giuffre filed a civil case in New York in August 2021 under the state’s Child Victims Act, which allows survivors of childhood sexual abuse to pursue a case that otherwise would have been barred because too much time had passed.

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