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Prince Andrew: Sex scandal in the palace

WORLD
By Jacqueline Mahugu | January 14th 2022
Britain's Prince Andrew. [Reuters]

Britain’s Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military roles, and will no longer be referred to as His Royal Highness (HRH).

The announcement was made by Buckingham Palace in a statement that read: “With The Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

According to CNN, a royal source who spoke to the news outlet said that the prince, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s third child, would not use the HRH title in any official capacity, and that the decision was “widely discussed” among the royal family.

“All of the Duke’s roles have been handed back to the Queen with immediate effect for redistribution to other members of the Royal Family. For clarity, they will not return to The Duke of York,” said CNN’s source.

The announcement was made on Thursday, a day after a judge in Manhattan, United States of America ruled that a sexual assault case against him would be allowed to proceed.

The lawsuit against him was filed in August 2021 by Virginia Giuffre, who has accused him of assaulting her when she was 17 years old. Prince William has vehemently denied the allegations, and his lawyers had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit towards the end of last year.

Giuffre says that she was a victim of the late Jeffrey Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender who was arrested in July 2019 on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. This was of girls as young as 14, who were also used to recruit other young girls for trafficking, between 2002 and 2005.

He is also said to have abused the girls himself. Officials identified 36 of the victims he assaulted. He pleaded guilty to having sexually abused one 14-year-old girl after her mother accused him of it in 2005 and in 2008 was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution and of soliciting a prostitute.

Epstein allegedly ran the sex trafficking operation together with his ex-girlfriend, former British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was found guilty of sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and three related counts of conspiracy.

Epstein allegedly committed suicide on August 10, 2019 before his trial on sex trafficking. Epstein was friends with very high profile people, including former US presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, billionaire Bill Gates and Prince Andrew.

He is said to have trafficked the young girls to his high profile associates. In 2002, speaking about Epstein, Trump told New York magazine, “he’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

After Epstein’s arrest in 2019, however, Trump said that they were no longer on good terms. “I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you,” he told the New York times.

Epstein’s alleged suicide has been disputed, with many believing that his death was the work of powerful figures who caused his death to cover their tracks. Most high profile figures mentioned as his associated have distanced themselves from him, but Prince Andrew has been unable to shake the allegations.

Giuffre alleges that Epstein trafficked her to Prince Andrew. According to BBC, she was working as a locker room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, where Maxwell offered her an interview for the chance to train as a massage therapist.

She says that what happened instead was that Epstein abused her and passed her around his powerful associates. Epstein allegedly took her to London in 2001 and introduced her to Prince Andrew, where Maxwell told her that she had “to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey.”

A picture of Prince Andrew, Giuffre and Maxwell was taken that night, and she says that the prince then abused her three times at Maxwell’s London home the same night, and later at Epstein’s homes in the US.

Despite the existence of the photograph, in a now infamous interview with BBC in 2019, Prince Andrew said that he “had no recollection of ever meeting” Giuffre and that the incidences she accuses him of did not happen.

The interview turned out to be a PR nightmare and is said to have only made things worse for him. He announced that he would step back from public duties following the ensuing public backlash from that interview.

The case against Prince Andrew may be heard later this year.

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