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In a stunning rebuke by the royal family, Britain’s Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and forced to relinquish all ties with his royal charities.
The moves came one day after Andrew's lawyers failed to persuade a U.S. judge to dismiss a civil lawsuit claiming he sexually abused a minor some two decades ago.
Andrew will also no longer use the title of “His Royal Highness” and will defend his case as a private citizen, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace Thursday.
On Wednesday, a U.S. judge declined to dismiss a civil lawsuit in which Virginia Giuffre accuses Andrew of sexually abusing her when she was 17, while she was allegedly being trafficked for sexual purposes by late financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew has denied Giuffre’s accusations – which include allegedly forcing her to have sex at a London home of former Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, also a friend of Andrew’s.
A royal source said the decision over Andrew came after wide discussions among the royal family, and that his military affiliations and patronages would be redistributed to other family members.
Earlier, an open letter to the queen, signed by more than 150 veterans calling for Andrew to have his military titles taken away and if necessary to be dishonorably discharged, was published by the anti-monarchy group Republic.
Andrew was forced to step down from public duties in 2019, with Buckingham Palace increasingly distancing itself from the prince, declining to comment and referring all questions to his lawyers.
The conviction of Maxwell last month on sex trafficking for Epstein and other charges, together with his own case, had left his reputation in the British media in tatters.
Andrew’s case could go to trial by the fall if no settlement is reached beforehand.