Prince Andrew should give up all Royal titles over Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking scandal – Tom Richmond

WHATEVER the ultimate outcome of legal action in New York, Prince Andrew’s reputation is beyond repair due to his past association with the dead paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell who has been found guilty of sex trafficking offences.

Prince Andrew became Duke of York on his wedding day in 1986.
Prince Andrew became Duke of York on his wedding day in 1986.

The Duke of York’s pretence that he does not recall meeting his accuser Virginia Giuffre – despite being pictured in that photo with her and Maxwell – appears as risible as his attempt to wriggle off the inquiry because he fell into the category of ‘potential defendant’.

This was the interpretation of the £370,000 deal that effectively saw Epstein pay Guiffre for her silence with Prince Andrew’s lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, arguing this week that the confidential agreement ended the accuser’s right to pursue anyone else.

Either way, the tawdriness of the case – Guiffre claims she had sex with the Duke on three occasions – and daily disclosures has reached a point that the disgraced 61-year-old prince should relinquish his Royal titles, if only to spare the Queen further embarrassment during her Platinum Jubilee.

Should the Duke of York be made to relinquish his Royal titles?

After all, this is a particularly poignant time for the Queen whose jubilee begins on February 6 – the 70th anniversary of the death of her dear father King George VI, the former Duke of York, who reigned with such stoicism, despite his stammer, throughout the Second World War.

How must the Queen, now widowed, feel when she awakes every morning to the latest revelations about her second son who she bestowed Duke of York on the day of his wedding to Sarah Ferguson in 1986?

His standing is so low that he’s already had to relinquish all public duties.

How must the rest of the Royal family feel when their tireless work reaching out to the vulnerable and sexual abuse victims is besmirched by Prince Andrew as some military officers disclose that they are now uncomfortable at being asked to drink to the health of the Duke of York at the end of regimental dinners? The Duke’s nine remaining commands include his position at colonel-in-chief of the Yorkshire Regiment.

Should the Duke of York be made to relinquish his Royal titles?

And how must all victims of sexual offences feel whenever they hear mention of Prince Andrew and his protestations of innocence over the nature of his friendship with Epstein and Maxwell, more so given the extent to which his past denials have unravelled?

If he has any humility, Andrew will give up his Royal status – and titles – until he’s cleared his name once and for all. He should just be known as plain Andrew Windsor in the interim. If not, his actions risk leaving the Queen in an even more invidious position ahead of her historic platinum jubilee – as both a mother and a monarch.

I HAD some sympathy for Maggie Throup, the Shipley-born Vaccines Minister, when she struggled on the BBC’s Question Time to answer questions about Downing Street’s parties in lockdown when she was not even present.

It does not extend, however, to her inability, during her media rounds on Tuesday mornings, to answer simple questions about the number of NHS hospitals forced to declare critical incidents due to mounting staff shortages.

Prince Andrew became Duke of York on his wedding day in 1986.

Denying the existence of a problem, in the hope that it will vanish, is not a remedy when the shortage of NHS staff has reached a point that Army medics are being drafted in and care homes need to recruit volunteers to help answer phones, make the tea and fulfil other basic roles.

As care chiefs admit, the risks to residents, and their health, of doing nothing is just as significant as taking on helpers who might not comply with CRB checks. Frightening.

I’M not sure how Rail Minister Wendy Morton kept a straight face during a visit to Leeds to defend the decision to downgrade the eastern leg of HS2 when her West Midlands constituency will be a major beneficiary of high-speed rail.

She would not have been so smug if her voters had been misled to such an extent and now needs to explain precisely how many extra trains will be able to operate as a result of the decision to scrap HS2 and Northern Powerhouse rail here.

After all, her colleague Baroness Vere admitted only last month that no such calculation had been made. Why not?

THERE were two obvious slip-ups when Rishi Sunak took one of his children ice skating this week.

The first is that the rather ungainly Chancellor appeared to fall on his daughter.

The second is that the Richmond MP was sporting a very trendy £795 brown Reiss shearling jacket at the National History Museum’s outdoor rink in London.

I’m not sure how such extravagances will go down when Sunak, as Chancellor, is having to push taxes up during the mounting cost of living crisis.

Still, the jacket is his business – and his money – isn’t it?

MAXINE Peake’s portrayal of Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams in this week’s ITV drama-documentary Anne was compelling – and award-winning. It chronicled the human dimension to this unforgivable miscarriage of justice that followed the 1989 disaster – and how it took its toll on the families of the now 97 Liverpool fans who never returned home.

And what was totally heartbreaking was how Ms Williams died of cancer in 2013 before the deceased, including her 15-year-old son Kevin, were exonerated by an inquiry headed by James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool, and second inquests. It’s not just the 97 victims who were denied justice for so long. So, too, were their loved ones and wider footballing family.

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