Queen strips Andrew of honorary military roles and royal patronages

The Queen has agreed to strip the Duke of York of his honorary military roles and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The move is a major blow to Andrew who is facing a looming civil sexual assault court showdown after a judge ruled on Wednesday that the case could go ahead.

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

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“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

The Duke of York, in his role as colonel of the Grenadier Guards, at a memorial in Bruges to mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Belgian town in 2019

It comes after more than 150 veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand Andrew was removed from the honorary military positions.

Accusing the duke of bringing the services he is associated with into disrepute, the 152 former members of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army said that “were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post”.

The Queen is head of the armed forces, and honorary military appointments are in her gift.

The Palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019.

But until now he still retained the roles, which left the eight British regiments, including the Grenadier Guards of which he was Colonel, in limbo more than two years on.

Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

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

The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.