A SENIOR York councillor has called tonight for Prince Andrew to relinquish his title as Duke of York, after the Queen agreed to strip him of his honorary military roles and royal patronages.
Cllr Darryl Smalley, LibDem executive member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said York’s unique connection to the Crown and the Monarch was an important part of the city’s legacy, history and a ‘great source of pride.’
He said: “No one is above the law and all allegations should rightly be fully investigated, particularly following the recent distressing court cases. 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.”
Opposition Labour Group Leader, Cllr Pete Kilbane said Prince Andrew should be answerable to the same rules and laws that apply to all other citizens internationally and in this case, to allegations of sexual assault.
“Prince Andrew has, by knowingly consorting with a convicted paedophile and mixing with a now-convicted sex trafficker, lost all respect and trust from the public he relies on for his position and public funding,” he said.
“Decent people would want to put as much distance between the city and the Duke as possible.
“We trust that this is now being addressed”.
But Tory group leader Paul Doughty said: “We have a long history and tradition in this country of a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
“I believe this to be a cornerstone of a civilised society. Likewise, I also believe that someone’s position, whether a royal or otherwise should have equity in law. I therefore think it is right that the Duke is not afforded special treatment and faces the law as anyone else would.”
Former Tory councillor Cllr David Carr said the Duke of York title was bestowed on a son of the Monarch and was an historic title which went back to the 14th Century.
“As such, it signifies a long-standing, close, and proud relationship between our City and the Monarchy, and it is as much about the office as the office-holder; if not more so.
“The Queen is now a very old lady who has endured, with grace and noble silence, a year of enormous family upset and tragedy. I believe it is Her Majesty’s decision, and hers alone, to consider the future of the title of Duke of York, and until she does, we should follow her example of noble silence.”
The Queen’s decision to strip the Duke of his honorary military roles and royal patronages is a major blow to Andrew as he faces a looming civil sexual assault court showdown after a judge ruled on Wednesday that the case could go ahead.
The Palace said in a statement: “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.”
It comes after more than 150 veterans joined forces to express their outrage, writing to the Queen to demand Andrew was removed from the honorary military positions.
Accusing the duke of bringing the services he is associated with into disrepute, the 152 former members of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army said that “were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post”.
The Queen is head of the armed forces, and honorary military appointments are in her gift.
The Palace said previously that the duke’s military appointments were in abeyance after he stepped down from public duties in 2019.
But until now he still retained the roles, which left the eight British regiments, including the Grenadier Guards of which he was Colonel, in limbo more than two years on.
Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.
“What do readers think? Should Prince Andrew’s title as Duke of York be relinquished?