The Queen issues statement as Prince Andrew stripped of military titles

Prince Andrew was stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronage and returned to the Queen.

Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Twitter this evening (Thursday 13 January).

The move was said to have been made with the Queen’s “consent and approval”.

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It comes after the announcement that the Duke of York will go on trial over allegations that he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was a minor, after a US judge ruled her civil suit could go ahead.

The statement also addressed the upcoming court case, saying Prince Andrew will “defend this case as a private person”.

The Palace said in a statement on Twitter: “With the Queen’s approval and consent, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronage have been returned to the Queen.

“The Duke of York will continue to refrain from public duties and is defending this case as a private individual.”

Ms Giuffre is suing Prince Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her as a teenager.

She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law.

The Duke has vehemently denied the allegations and his legal team argued at the first hearing of the lawsuit that the case was “baseless”.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s decision to let the case go to trial comes after the Duke of York’s attorney argued earlier this month that the case should be thrown out.

They had explained that Ms Giuffre had waived her right to go after the Duke by signing a confidential settlement with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein back in 2009.

Judge Lewis Kaplan explained his reasons for denying the Duke of York’s motion to dismiss the civil case against him, saying in his ruling: “The 2009 Agreement cannot be demonstrated as clear and unequivocal that the parties intended the instrument ‘direct’ . primarily” or “substantially” in favor of Prince Andrew.

“The existence of the requisite intent to benefit him or others like him is a question of fact which could not be properly decided in this motion, even if the defendant fell into declassifying language, which is itself ambiguous.”

“Therefore, regardless of whether release language applies to Prince Andrew, the agreement is at least ‘reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation’ on the equally important issue of whether that defendant can invoke it.”

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