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Buckingham Palace Releases Rare Statement on Prince Andrew (and It’s Long Overdue)

As a long-time fan of the royals, the Prince Andrew scandal—and lack of action on the part of the royal family in regard to it—has been disheartening to watch. If you’ve been following the latest news, you’re aware that this week was a pivotal moment for the Duke of York: Facing a civil sexual assault lawsuit brought forth by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a judge in New York denied Andrew’s lawyers’ attempts to dismiss the case based on a technicality.

Now, Buckingham Palace is speaking out with a rare statement announcing a major change to Andrew’s royal status: “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 statement continues: “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

On this week’s episode of the Royally Obsessed podcast, my co-host Roberta Fiorito and I get into where the civil case against Andrew—who is the Queen’s third-born child and still ninth in line to the throne—is likely to go from here.

While long overdue, this statement is still a surprise. For one thing, Buckingham Palace has been radio silent on Andrew ever since his bombshell BBC Newsnight interview in 2019 about the allegations that ultimately led to him stepping back from his royal role. In addition, the fact that Prince Harry was stripped of his military titles after stepping down—along with wife Meghan Markle—from their roles as senior members of the royal family mainly due to toxic and racist mistreatment by the U.K. tabloids while Andrew was allowed to hold onto his when charged with sexual assault of a minor has been a hot button topic for years.

Bottom line: This statement is a monumental shift as it marks efforts by the palace to distance themselves from Andrew and this scandal after suffering massive reputational damage. It also comes ahead of Queen Elizabeth marking 70 years on the throne on February 6 and a series of events scheduled for June to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. (According to People, the decision to strip Andrew of his military titles and HRH status was widely discussed by senior members of the royal family, which likely means Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Prince William.)

Andrew’s currently set to face a trial date between September and December 2022. But if he settles out of court, the queen’s statement appears to make clear that, as a private citizen, he’ll be paying for that himself. (Yet another hot button topic with Andrew.)

For more about the latest news on the royal family, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.

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Rachel Bowie

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...
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