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Andrew could lose title over sexual assault saga

Prince Andrew Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine

Virginia Roberts accused Andrew Duke of York of sexual assault and defense chiefs ‘want “toxic” royal to quit military roles’, while his family put on a united front at Swiss ski resort without him.

In light of Duke’s close friendship with Epstein and Maxwell, senior Army commanders believe it is not feasible for Andrew to carry on his role as colonel-in-chief of nine military regiments, units, and corps

They appeared to be in good spirits despite the growing scandal surrounding the Duke of York’s association with sex trafficking victim Virginia Giuffre

The family are understood to have flown out to Switzerland on Boxing Day while Prince Andrew remained at his Royal Lodge home inside the Queen’s Windsor estate

Royal courtiers are discussing plans to strip Prince Andrew of his Duke of York title if he loses the lawsuit brought by sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre, according to the Sunday Times.

Other ideas allegedly being considered by the Royal household include sending the Duke into some form of ‘internal exile’ and asking him to relinquish any links he still has to charities. 

Ms Giuffre alleges that Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her three times when she was 17, which he denies, and is suing for unspecified damages.  The Duke stepped down from public duties in November 2019 ‘for the foreseeable future over his friendship with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the wake of the disastrous Newsnight interview he had hoped would clear his name.

A source said: ‘If (Prince Andrew) loses the case, the question is what do you do with him? You can’t make him resign like you would a normal person but he would be asked to put his dukedom into abeyance.’

Royal insiders said it would be difficult to persuade the Queen to remove the title of Duke of York as ‘it was held by her father, George VI, before he became king and she bestowed it on her favourite son. But he has disgraced that title’, the Sunday Times reported.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said with regard to claims the Duke might lose his title: ‘This is speculation and the comments are without foundation. We would not comment on an ongoing legal matter.’

And in a further blow, the Duke is said to be under pressure to give up his nine military roles, according to defense sources. Military chiefs hope he will resign so the Queen doesn’t have to strip him of his honorary titles, the Sunday People reported.

The decision to remove the military titles would need to come from the Queen and Buckingham Palace officials but defense sources said ‘there would be no objection from the armed forces.

The Yorks are believed to have thrown a New Year’s Eve party and invited some of their many friends who visit the luxury Swiss resort every year.

The family is understood to have flown out to Switzerland on Boxing Day while Prince Andrew remained at his Royal Lodge home inside the Queen’s Windsor estate.

The Duchess declined to comment about recent events when approached in the street. The 62-year-old said simply: ‘We are on a family holiday.’

The Duchess is said to be very happy to have been able to spend time with her grandchildren – Eugenie’s son August, and Beatrice’s daughter Sienna, who are both on holiday with their parents.

The Duke of York is believed to have held crisis meetings with his legal team following Maxwell’s guilty verdict for sex trafficking on Wednesday night following her New York City trial.

Meanwhile, Virginia Giuffre – the woman who claims she was forced to sleep with Prince Andrew when she was 17 – could be set to give a victim impact statement to a New York judge for the sentencing of Ghislaine Maxwell.

The British socialite was this week convicted of multiple counts of child sex trafficking for her billionaire pedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Although a number of accusers did not give evidence at the trial, the women will instead be given the chance to make a statement to Judge Alison Nathan, according to the Telegraph.

One of them is said to be Ms Giuffre – known before her marriage as Virginia Roberts – who alleges having sex with Andrew three times in 2001, at a time when she was a teenager and under the control of Epstein. 

The Prince has denied the claims.

Victim impact statements are testimonies presented to the court which outline the effects of an offender’s actions. 

While guidelines and reports are what are primarily used to determine the length of sentence, a judge should also consider victim impact statements.

Sigrid McCawley, who represents Ms Giuffre, told the paper: ‘At the sentencing, I anticipate that there will be a lot of testimony from many, many other women who were not able to be heard at the trial, who will come forward and bring information about their suffering at the hands of Ghislaine Maxwell.

It comes amid claims that Buckingham Palace ‘sleepwalked’ into the Prince Andrew crisis and has been paralysed with indecision over to how to handle things.

Senior royal insiders said the duke operated with ‘impunity’ as a member of the Royal Family because staff were ‘too scared’ to stand up to him.

And they say the idea he could still return to public life, despite the swirling controversy around his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, must be quashed.

The comments came as Andrew suffered two setbacks in his US sex case, admitting he has no proof over his infamous claim he cannot sweat and also seeing the judge throw out an attempt to stall the case.

Lawyers for his accuser, who is suing the prince for damages in a New York civil case, have demanded he hand over evidence he does not perspire, as he said in a car crash Newsnight interview two years ago when denying her allegations.

But his legal team said ‘no documents exist in his possession, custody or control’ to back the claim.

Furthermore, the Duke revealed he was also unable to put forward any witnesses to corroborate his claim that he was at Pizza Express in Woking on the night it’s alleged he slept with Miss Giuffre.

And the judge denied Andrew’s requests to delay the case after he claimed Miss Giuffre cannot sue in the US on the grounds that she lives in Australia.

The prince was seen in public yesterday for the first time since his friend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was convicted of multiple counts of child sex trafficking for her boyfriend Epstein, driving himself to Windsor Castle.

In his Newsnight interview he also told interviewer Emily Maitlis that on the date Miss Giuffre says they slept together in London, he was at a Pizza Express in Woking. He has been told to prove this too.

Miss Roberts, now Giuffre, claims she slept with Andrew three times in 2001, at a time when she was 17 and under the control of Epstein.