People in York Want Prince Andrew Stripped of His 'Duke of York' Title

The calls come after the Queen took away his HRH and military titles.

prince andrew
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While it was always evident that the sex abuse allegations against Prince Andrew would cause major royal controversy, the Palace seemed to be in a holding pattern as it awaited news of the court case. While Andrew was removed from royal duties, and kept largely out of the spotlight since the allegations became public, there were no announcements as to whether Prince Andrew would retain his royal titles, despite growing calls for them to be stripped. Now, however, in the wake of the case brought by Virginia Giuffre moving forward, swift action is finally happening.

This week, the U.S. judge presiding over the civil case brought by Giuffre—who claims that Prince Andrew engaged in an inappropriate sexual encounter with her when she was underage, in connection with his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein—declined Andrew’s motion to dismiss the action. It was the clearest sign yet in the years-long legal saga that the heated backlash against Andrew by the public and those in the royal family isn’t going anywhere. In quick order, the Queen stripped Andrew of his HRH styling and his honorary military titles (he was previously colonel-in-chief of nine military regiments). The move reportedly came after a thirty-minute conversation between the Queen and her younger son, according to the Mirror UK.

While it seems like the royal family is trying to staunch the flow of bad press by finally laying down consequences for the disgraced royal, some have argued that the moves still don’t go far enough. For example, his most notable title, the Duke of York, which was bestowed on him on the day of his wedding to Sarah Ferguson in 1986, remains intact, and can only be removed by an act of Parliament. That differs from the military titles and HRH styling, which can be taken away by the Queen. 

But now, leaders within the city of York are pushing to remove the Duke of York title from Prince Andrew as well, according to the Daily Mail. Darryl Smalley, a senior member of the City of York Council, began a campaign asking Parliament to pass removal of the title, which he said could be signed by the entire Council. “We stand with all victims, whose harrowing stories have shocked us all in recent months. Whilst Prince Andrew remains innocent until proven guilty, Buckingham Palace and the Government must consider the implications of these troubling allegations moving forward. Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, he should also now relinquish his title as Duke of York,” Mr. Smalley was quoted as saying. 

The council member made a comparison to the military, which had pushed for Andrew’s honors to be removed in order to protect the reputation of the armed forces. Smalley explained that the protection of the reputation of the city of York also should take precedent, adding, “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.” 

He continued, “I think many, many people in the city really are quite aggrieved that whilst many of his titles have been removed - those that associated to the military and another organizations - the ones that actually ties a whole city with a population of 200,000 are what is retained.”

While Andrew has not been proven liable for the case yet, he will likely have to face trial in the U.S. later this year, causing more controversy at a time where the Queen and her Platinum Jubilee were supposed to be front and center. 

It’s an ugly situation, and one that won’t be easily resolved by the mere removal of a title. But for some members of the public, stripping him of the title would at least mark a step in the right direction.