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The British Royal Family has removed Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages, meaning the Queen’s second son will no longer be known as ‘His Royal Highness’.

The move comes as Andrew fights a lawsuit brought in US court by Virginia Giuffre, accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.

Andrew was already forced to step down from public duties in 2019 because of his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and after a disastrous BBC interview failed to clear his name.

Buckingham Palace said 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.”

On Wednesday, Andrew’s lawyers failed to persuade US District Judge Lewis Kaplan to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s civil lawsuit, and Judge Kaplan ruled that Giuffre could pursue claims that Andrew battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress while Epstein was trafficking her. Andrew continues to deny Giuffre’s accusations that he forced her to have sex with him.

The decision means Andrew could be required to give evidence at a trial which could begin between September and December if no settlement is reached. A source close to Andrew 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.”

As for the Royal Family’s move to distance themselves from Andrew, the BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said, “This is now about the protection of the royal family’s reputation. This is likely to do, and is already doing, considerable reputational damage – it’s being followed around the world.”

Andrew’s military affiliations and patronages will be redistributed to other members of the family.

Image: Christopher Furlong – WPA Pool/Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.

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