Prince Andrew’s trials and tribulations: The sex assault case saga so far

After a United States judge denied a plea by Britain’s Prince Andrew to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit against him, the Royal Family removed his military links and royal patronages on Thursday (January 13). 

Andrew’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen and he will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness”. The Palace said that the Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending the case as a private citizen. 

The statement didn’t mention that he has been stripped of his HRH title but The Guardian reported that he will no longer use the style His Royal Highness in any official capacity. 

In 2019, the 61-year-old was forced to step down from public duties after he was linked to convicted US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

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Here’s everything you need to know about the case and what might happen next

Who is Prince Andrew?

Prince Andrew is the second son of Queen Elizabeth II. He has two daughters and remained unmarried since his 1996 divorce. 

The lawsuit and Epstein connection

As per a sexual assault lawsuit filed by an American woman Virginia Giuffre, it was claimed that Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked her to Epstein’s wealthy friends.

She sued Andrew in August 2021 and her lawyers submitted a photo of her with Andrew and Maxwell as evidence. She claimed that she was sexually trafficked to Prince Andrew and he sexually assaulted her in 2001 when she was 17 and a minor under American law.

Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the accusations.  

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Court’s ruling so far

A United States judge on Wednesday (January 12) denied a plea by Prince Andrew to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit. Lewis Kaplan, the New York Judge in his ruling said that the British Royal’s plea to dismiss the complaint brought by Giuffre was “denied in all respects”. 

In the ruling, he further wrote: “Ms. Giuffre’s complaint is neither ‘unintelligible’ nor ‘vague’ nor ‘ambiguous’. “It alleges discrete incidents of sexual abuse in particular circumstances at three identifiable locations. It identifies to whom it attributes that sexual abuse.” 

What’s next for Prince Andrew?

Prince Andrew’s attorneys can ask the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Kaplan’s decision. 

An appeal would definitely delay proceedings, giving some time to them. But, in case it fails then theoretically they could take the case to the US Supreme Court. 

There’s also a way out for Prince Andrew; if the parties reach an agreement before the deposition takes place then the case is over. 

Will there be any criminal charges?

It has been understood that no criminal charges can directly result from the lawsuit but the suit itself does not stop the government from filing a criminal case against Andrew if they believe a crime has been committed.

Prince Andrew stripped of royal and military links

The Royal Family removed Prince Andrew’s military links and royal patronages and said he will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness”. 

The move by the royal family means he will now lose all his royal connections. 

Which titles did he lose?

Andrew was honorary colonel of the Grenadier Guards, whose soldiers guard Buckingham Palace in their distinctive bearskin hats and red tunics. Royal patronages are associations with charities and other organisations.

Prince Andrew’s other British honorary military titles were: honorary air commodore of RAF Lossiemouth; colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment; colonel-in-chief of the Small Arms School Corps; commodore-in-chief of the Fleet Air Arm; royal colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers; deputy colonel-in-chief of the Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own) and royal colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.