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Prince Andrew to keep remaining titles after settling Virginia Giuffre case

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 16/02/2022 Victoria Ward
The Duke of York - Paul Grover for the Telegraph © Paul Grover for the Telegraph The Duke of York - Paul Grover for the Telegraph

The Duke of York will remain the Queen’s Counsellor of State and retain his dukedom and service rank of Vice-Admiral, despite public pressure to strip him of all remaining privileges.

Buckingham Palace sources indicated on Wednesday that despite agreeing a settlement with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the Duke would not be further humiliated by being stripped of the titles.

It came amid notable public outrage that he had managed to avoid legal scrutiny by paying Ms Giuffre an estimated £12 million – as part of a settlement, but made no admission of guilt – with help from the Queen.

Ms Giuffre alleged that the Duke sexually abused and raped her on three separate occasions in 2001 when she was 17. He always denied the claims.

The six-month legal drama was brought to an abrupt end on Tuesday, when both sides issued a joint statement confirming that they had settled out of court

In January, the Duke was effectively sacked as a working royal as he was stripped of all military titles and patronages by the Queen and agreed to no longer use his HRH title.

Royals who have lost HRH title © Provided by The Telegraph Royals who have lost HRH title

However, the decision, made by Buckingham Palace, to allow him to keep his remaining titles will be seen as an indication that he retains his mother’s support.

As a Counsellor of State, he is legally entitled to step in and represent the Queen if she is temporarily incapacitated – for example, due to illness – and is unable to undertake her official duties.

The role is undertaken by any spouse of the monarch and the next four adults in the line of succession, currently the Prince of Wales, and the Dukes of Cambridge, Sussex and York.

It means that of the four people who hold the title, two are no longer working royals.

It is understood there are no plans to amend the current legislation, despite the fact that the Duke of Sussex is now living an independent life in California and the Duke of York’s reputation has been shredded.

As a former member of the Armed Forces, the Duke, who served in the Royal Navy, retains his current military rank of Vice-Admiral.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, said any decisions on his military honorific “rests obviously with the Palace”.

City of York criticises Duke of York

There have been growing calls for the Duke to be stripped of his ducal title.

Rachael Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, called on him to give it up in order to “show respect” for its people.   

Darryl Smalley, a Liberal Democrat councillor at the City of York Council, agreed. He told YorkMix: “Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, this should be the end of his direct link with our great city.

“York’s unique connection to the Crown and the monarch is an important part of our city's legacy, history and a great source of pride.”

The Duke, whose reputation has been tarnished by the civil lawsuit, said in a statement on Tuesday that he “regrets his association” with Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier, and had agreed to make a “substantial donation” to Ms Giuffre’s charity.

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He has “reluctantly come to accept” that he will not now rehabilitate himself in any meaningful way, it is understood.

When the lawsuit was first lodged, and for some months afterwards, the Duke continued to insist that he would clear his name, genuinely believing that he would eventually return to public duties.

However, the penny dropped as the case dragged on and became ever more fraught. 

He is not expected to retain his high-profile legal team or his independent PR advisers once the civil case is formally closed next month.

One source close to the Duke’s team has made it clear that he will be advised not to raise his head above the parapet for at least a year.

He will, however, join his family at a service of thanksgiving for his late father, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey on Mar 29. A source said: “He is still part of the family.”

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