Prince Andrew stripped of royal affiliations amid sex abuse lawsuit

The British royal family announced Thursday that Prince Andrew’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to Queen Elizabeth II as he faces a sex abuse lawsuit related to late financier and child predator Jeffrey Epstein.

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

The announcement means he will no longer be referred to as “His Royal Highness,” BBC News reported. Andrew is the son of Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip and has been listed as ninth in line for the throne.

>> Related: Judge rules Prince Andrew must face sexual abuse lawsuit

The decision was announced one day after a federal judge in New York declined to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an American woman who claimed she was sexually abused by Andrew after being trafficked to him by Epstein when she was underage. Virginia Giuffre sued the prince in August, claiming that she was sexually abused in London, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands after meeting Andrew in 2001, when she was 17.

In a complaint, attorneys for Giuffre said Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, recruited her to massage the financier and later engage in sexual activities with him in 2000, when she was a 16-year-old working at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. She said that in the following years, she was “on call for Epstein for sexual purposes” and also “lent out to other powerful men,” including Andrew.

>> Related: Jeffrey Epstein accuser sues Prince Andrew over alleged sexual abuse

Andrew has denied having sexually abused or assaulted Giuffre.

The lawsuit was filed more than a year after Epstein, 66, committed suicide while awaiting trial in 2019 in a federal jail cell in New York. He had been accused of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005.

>> Related: Ghislaine Maxwell convicted in Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse case

Last month, a jury convicted Maxwell of helping to recruit young girls to be sexually abused by Epstein. She awaits sentencing.

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