Britain's Queen Elizabeth II removed Prince Andrew from all of his military titles and royal positions last Thursday. The move came after an American judge ruled that a legal action against the prince could go forward.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement that Prince Andrew’s “military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the queen.” Patronages refer to positions in charities, military and civic groups that the royal family supports.
The legal action against Andrew was filed by Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts.
Last August, Giuffre took legal action the 61-year-old prince, saying she was forced into having sex with him in 2001, when she was 17. Giuffre said the attacks took place at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell as well as properties owned by Jeffrey Epstein in New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Epstein was a wealthy financier who killed himself in a New York City prison in 2019 while awaiting his trial on sex abuse charges. Maxwell was found guilty last month of sex trafficking of young girls for Epstein.
Andrew's lawyers have called the legal action "baseless" and accused Giuffre of looking for money. They argued that Giuffre signed away her right to sue the prince in a 2009 settlement with Epstein. The lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan to dismiss the case for that reason.
Andrew told the BBC news service in November 2019 that he could not have had sex with Giuffre at Maxwell's home. He said he had returned to his house that night after a children's party.
Judge Kaplan rejected the argument by Andrew’s lawyers. He said it was too soon to decide whether Giuffre and Epstein meant for the 2009 settlement to release Andrew.
The judge also noted that he was not ruling on the truth of Giuffre’s allegations. He said the prince would be able to argue against Giuffre’s claims at a trial.
Damages to the prince
The allegations have damaged the prince's reputation -- the common opinion about him.
Andrew had already stepped down from public duties after critics said he failed to answer questions about his ties to Epstein. Last Thursday, the queen’s office also said Andrew would no longer be known as "His Royal Highness." The office added that the prince “is defending this case as a private citizen.”
If the case goes to trial and Giuffre wins, Andrew could be ordered to pay Giuffre money. The legal action against Andrew is a civil case. That means the prince would not be charged with criminal offenses. Andrew has repeatedly chosen not to meet with U.S. government lawyers investigating Epstein’s sex trafficking case.
Judge Kaplan said the possible trial against Andrew could start between September and December of this year.
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Reuters and Associated Press reporting.
Words in This Story
affiliation - n. the state of being closely associated and connected to an organization
sue - v. to bring legal action against someone or something