Prince Andrew may lose Duke of York title

Royal could also be asked to give up honorary military posts if he loses civil lawsuit

Prince Andrew is facing a civil lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre, which starts on Tuesday. AFP

Prince Andrew could be asked to drop his royal Duke of York title if he loses an impending civil lawsuit, it has been reported.

Pressure on the British royal has intensified following the conviction last week of Ghislaine Maxwell over sex trafficking charges, with defence sources suggesting he could lose his honorary military titles too.

Plans are said to have been drawn up by the royal household in which the 61-year-old prince would also be asked to surrender his charity ties and be sent into a form of internal exile.

He is facing litigation from Virginia Giuffre who claims she was sexually abused by Queen Elizabeth II’s son when she was 17 and is seeking punitive damages in the US. Prince Andrew strongly denies the allegations.

But planning is now taking place to protect the monarchy in the event Ms Giuffre, who was a victim of the underage abuser Jeffrey Epstein, wins the litigation.

“If he loses the case, the question is: what do you do with him?” a royal source is quoted by The Sunday Times as saying. “You can’t make him resign like you would a normal person but he would be asked to put his dukedom into abeyance.”

The suggestion would be that Prince Andrew is asked to stop using his Duke of York title in a similar request to that made to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they ceased to be working members of the royal family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were not stripped of their “HRH” titles, but were asked not to use them.

Virginia Giuffre with her lawyer for a hearing in the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein in 2019. Reuters

It is understood the queen would be reluctant to strip her second son of the title that was held by her father, King George VI, before he was crowned.

The duke would also face calls to relinquish his honorary military positions — he is colonel-in-chief of nine military units, regiments and corps. It is understood that senior commanders believe that the prince retaining the honorary titles would be untenable if he loses the case.

Any decision will again depend on the queen’s agreement however there is unlikely to be any objection from the armed forces. Again, it would be a move similar to that made for Prince Harry who gave up his military titles after moving to the US when he ended his royal duties.

The Duke of York’s only hope of retaining both his title and military positions is that Ms Giuffre’s case is thrown out of court when proceedings begin in New York on Tuesday.

His lawyers will argue that a private settlement reached between Ms Giuffre and Epstein in 2009, after she sued him for years of abuse, protects associates of the deceased financier from being targeted in civil proceedings.

The lawyers will also claim the US court has no jurisdiction, on the grounds that Giuffre, 38, lives in Australia.

Updated: January 2nd 2022, 12:26 PM