Prince Andrew's honorary military appointments and royal patronages have been removed by the Queen, Buckingham Palace said in a statement Thursday.
The Palace said that Andrew, 61, stepped down from his patronages — the 66 charities of which he was the royal patron, according to the royal family's official website — "with the Queen's approval and agreement."
Thursday's statement came one day after a New York federal judge declined to dismiss a civil sexual assault case against the Duke of York.
"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending the case as a private citizen," reads the Buckingham Palace statement released via social media.
Virginia Giuffre, 38, alleges that Andrew — a longtime friend and travel companion of disgraced financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in federal prison in while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges — sexually abused her on three occasions between 2000 and 2002 while she was under the age of 18. Giuffre has accused the Duke of York in court documents and interviews of sexually assaulting her in London, New York, and on Epstein's private island in the US Virgin Islands despite knowing that she was a sex trafficking victim.
Andrew has denied Giuffre's claims.
On Aug. 9, 2021, Giuffre sued Andrew for battery and emotional damages under New York’s Child Victims Act of 2019, a short-term law that allowed people over the age of 55 to file civil lawsuits related to childhood sexual abuse — no matter how long ago the incident — but only during a limited time period.
Although Andrew and his lawyers fought to have the case thrown out, a New York federal judge on Wednesday declined to dismiss the lawsuit, which will go to trial unless it is settled out of court.
Giuffre first accused Andrew of sexual assault in a sworn statement for a defamation case against Epstein and his former girlfriend and recently convicted coconspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, in December 2014. Giuffre's claims became known to the public when that document and other records from this case were unsealed in 2019.
Soon after the documents came out, Andrew issued a statement saying that he did not “see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to [Epstein's] arrest and conviction." He also admitted that he had made a mistake by maintaining the friendship after Epstein pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting prostitution from a minor in Florida and served 13 months in jail.
“I have said previously that it was a mistake and an error to see him after his release [from prison] in 2010 and I can only reiterate my regret that I was mistaken to think that what I thought I knew of him was evidently not the real person, given what we now know," he said. "I deplore the exploitation of any human being and would not condone, participate in, or encourage any such behavior,”
The Duke of York addressed his friendship with Epstein and strongly denied Giuffre's claims in a disastrous BBC interview that aired Nov. 16, 2019, and caused such a public outcry that Andrew resigned from public duties mere days after it aired.
In it, he denied ever meeting Giuffre — despite a now-infamous picture that shows the duke with his arm around the then-17-year-old's waist. He said that her story of dancing with him at a club was false, because she described him as being sweaty and he has a medical condition that prevents him from sweating. Andrew also said that on one of the nights Giuffre said he was with her, he was at a Pizza Express with his daughter Beatrice.
On Nov. 20, 2019, Buckingham Palace issued a statement from the Duke of York in which he said he was stepping back from public duties "for the foreseeable future."
"It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support," he said.
He has not performed any public duties in more than two years, but until Thursday, his honorary military titles and patronages were "in abeyance" (i.e., suspended) and he was still nominally associated with them.