On the 13th of January, Queen Elizabeth stripped Prince Andrew of his military titles and his royal patronages. The latter is a way for members of the Royal family to offer support to military associations, public service organizations and charities. Furthermore, he will no longer be able to use the title “His Royal Highness”, which is a status reserved for the senior members of the royal family. This decision is a direct result of the ongoing Jeffery Epsitne case. The 38-year old American, Virginia Giuffre, is suing Prince Andrew for sexual assault back when she was a teenager. Since he has lost his title, he will now be facing the court as a “private citizen” rather than a public figure.
It all began in 2014, when Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers filed a motion against Epstein. She accused him of sexual slavery between the years 1999 and 2002. She claims that Jeffrey Epstein had trafficked her to the Prince on three different occasions. First in London, then New York, and finally on an island owned by Epstein in the U.S Virgin Islands (dubbed the “Pedophile Island”). Virginia Giuffre as well as other accusers claimed that the island was the centre of an international sex trafficking ring of the rich and famous. Some of Epstein’s other guests include Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Kevin Spacey. Epstein committed suicide on the 10th of August 2019, while he was waiting for his trial in prison. However, Prince Andrew has denied on multiple occasions all involvement related to Epstein’s activities.
At the beginning of the month, the federal judge who is in charge of the case denied his request to dismiss the suit.
Prince Andrew’s social media accounts have been deleted. On the official British monarchy’s website, his duties and titles are now referred to in the past tense. As a working royal, Prince Andrew had to represent the Queen at both international and British events. Moreover, he had to attend events for the royal patronages he supported. Buckingham decided that his previous role and activities will be shared from now on between other members of the royal family.