A day after Queen Elizabeth removed Prince Andrew’s military titles following a ruling that a civil lawsuit against him in the U.S. could move forward that was brought by a woman who alleges he raped her when she was a teenager, some members of the British public are calling for his title of duke of York to be taken away as well.
While Andrew will not use “His Royal Highness” moving forward, he is still the duke of York, a title he has held since 1986, as well as earl of Inverness in Scotland and baron of Killyleagh in Northern Ireland.
Officials from York in northern England have called for Andrew’s dukedom to be removed as well, saying they no longer wanted to be associated with the prince, though his title is largely symbolic and has few ties to the city itself.
For the prince to remain the duke of York is “an association we no longer feel is appropriate, and is surely not in the benefit of our city,” Darryl Smalley, a Liberal Democrat senior member of City of York Council, told Sky News Friday.
Rachael Maskell, the Labour and Co-operative MP for York Central, said it’s “untenable” for Andrew to “cling onto his title another day longer,” saying his association with York must end.
Buckingham Palace has not responded to their request, and Smalley told The Guardian it would take an act of Parliament to strip the title from Andrew. No major campaigns have emerged to take away Andrew’s Scottish and Northern Irish titles.
“It’s our duty really to make clear that we are very unhappy that despite him not using titles such as ‘His Royal Highness’ he still somehow retains the title of Duke of York. It seems strange to a lot of us here in York,” Smalley told The Guardian.
Not everyone in York wants Andrew’s dukedom pulled immediately. The city’s Conservative group leader Paul Doughty told the BBC Andrew should be considered innocent until proven guilty, calling the presumption of innocence the “cornerstone of a civilized society.”
York is one of only eight royal dukedoms currently in existence. Previous dukes of York include Elizabeth’s father, George VI, and her grandfather, George V. The queen made Andrew the duke of York in 1986 on his wedding day to his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, following the royal tradition of awarding royal dukedoms to monarchs’ sons and grandsons on their wedding days. Prince Harry was named the duke of Sussex when he married Meghan Markle in 2018, and Prince William was given the title of duke of Cambridge in 2011 when he married Kate Middleton.
Buckingham Palace announced Thursday that Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages would revert to the queen, the day after a U.S. judge ruled a civil case filed against Andrew could continue to trial. Andrew has been sued in a U.S. court by Virginia Giuffre, who says Andrew raped her three times when she was 17 years old and was being trafficked by the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew stepped back from his public duties as a senior member of royal family in 2019 over his friendship with Epstein, who died by suicide awaiting trial for sex trafficking. Andrew denies any wrongdoing. Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite believed to have introduced Andrew to Epstein, was convicted last month of sex trafficking girls as young as 14 for Epstein. In Maxwell’s trial, two victims mentioned Andrew: one said she flew on a private plane with him, while another said Maxwell bragged about her friendship with the prince. Neither accused him of committing a crime.