Prince Andrew stripped of military titles and charities amid sex abuse lawsuit

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, pictured here, in eastern England, on January 19, 2020, has been stripped of his military titles and charities, Buckingham Palace announced.

Britain's Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and charities, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday, a day after a judge ruled a sexual abuse civil lawsuit against the Queen's son could proceed.

Andrew will also no longer use the style "His Royal Highness" in any official capacity, a royal source told CNN on Thursday. The source said the decision was "widely discussed" among the royal family.

"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," the palace said in a statement.

The royal source also told CNN that "all of the Duke's roles have been handed back to the Queen with immediate effect for redistribution to other members of the Royal Family. For clarity, they will not return to The Duke of York."

On Wednesday, a New York judged ruled against a motion by Andrew's legal team to dismiss a civil lawsuit brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that she was trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and forced to perform sex acts with the prince at the age of 17. Andrew has vigorously denied those claims.

The allegations against Andrew -- along with his relationship with the late convicted sex offender Epstein -- had already tarnished the prince's reputation. But the prospect of a public trial that would attract global attention could put Andrew -- the third child (and reportedly the favorite son) of Queen Elizabeth II -- in an unprecedented situation for a senior British royal.

Andrew had, in 2019, stepped away from his public duties as a result of allegations and the backlash over his initial response.

Aside from the days following the death of his father, Prince Philip, in early 2021, he has rarely appeared in public since. He was even absent from publicly released photographs of his elder daughter Beatrice's wedding in 2020.

The scandal has wider implications for the royal family, which was simultaneously been forced to weather criticism over Andrew's case and claims of racism from Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex over the past year. Buckingham Palace later described the claims as "concerning."

This is a developing story, more to come...

The-CNN-Wire

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