The UK's Prince Andrew has surrendered his honorary membership at one of the world’s most prestigious golf clubs as he fights sexual abuse allegations.
The Duke of York, a passionate golfer who has met many of the sport’s top names, gave up his membership of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland.
“I can confirm that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has received notification that the Duke of York will relinquish his honorary membership. We respect and appreciate his decision,” a club official said.
A source close to the duke said: “This is in line with the recent announcement from Buckingham Palace.”
The palace announced on January 13 that Prince Andrew’s military titles and charity positions were being removed with the “approval and agreement” of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal and Ancient was founded in 1754 and helped administer the rules of golf for 250 years, until that role was handed over to another organisation. It remains a private golf club with about 2,400 members worldwide.
Prince Andrew had been a member of the club since 1992 and was the first royal to serve on one of its committees – the amateur status committee from 1999 to 2003.
He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, King George VI, when he became the club's royal captain from 2003-04 – the sixth member of the monarchy to hold the post and something he described at the time as a “dream come true for me".
As captain, the duke followed tradition and drove into office by hitting a single shot from the first tee of the Old Course in September 2003. He was also captain during the club's 250th anniversary year in 2004.
It is understood a painting by Anthony Oakshett commissioned by the club to mark its anniversary, and showing Prince Andrew making his tee shot alongside many others, will remain in place at the club.
The prince stopped performing royal duties two years ago, after a disastrous BBC interview that increased criticism of his relationship with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” the palace said earlier this month.
Prince Andrew has demanded a trial by jury in the US civil sexual assault case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.