A little over a year has passed since the groundbreaking Jeffrey Epstein case has taken place. Since then, an alleged co-conspirator of his crimes, Ghislaine Maxwell, has also been found guilty of transporting underage individuals to engage in illegal sexual activity. The next person to be affected by this case is Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
For context, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on July 6, 2019, for sex trafficking. Following on July 8, 2019, Epstein was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to traffic minors for sex. On Aug. 10, 2019, Epstein was found dead in his cell (which would later be ruled a suicide) causing the case against Epstein to close and the sex trafficking charges to be dismissed. Following this, Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on July 2, 2020, and later charged with enticement of minors and sex trafficking of children. Eventually, on Dec. 29, 2020, Maxwell was convicted on five sex trafficking-related counts.
In the United States, a civil case was being brought against Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, by Virginia Giuffre. Originally Prince Andrew and his team filed a motion to have the civil case dropped but on Jan. 12, 2022, a federal judge denied the motion. The official lawsuit was filed under the Child Victims Act and alleges that Jeffery Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her when she was underage. According to Giuffre, the abuse took place at Epstein’s various homes including New York City, which is why New York City has the jurisdiction to charge Prince Andrew. It is important to distinguish that the case brought against Prince Andrew is not a criminal case and instead is a civil case.
Originally on Aug. 24, 2019, Prince Andrew denied witnessing any inappropriate behavior of Epstein’s and continued to not cooperate with New York City police on any investigations having to do with Epstein. Eventually, on Nov. 20, 2019, Prince Andrew decided to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future” after an interview with BBC Newsnight in which Prince Andrew denied ever meeting Giuffre despite photograph evidence of them together. After this announcement that he is stepping back from public duties, Prince Andrew was seen horseback riding with the Queen and attended a Buckingham Palace Christmas lunch with other royals. Eventually, in Feb. 2020, Prince Andrew returned to his royal duties to meet with China’s ambassador to relay a message on behalf of the Queen.
According to an official statement released by Royal Communications, on Jan. 13, 2022, the Duke of York’s “military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen.” What this essentially means is that Prince Andrew will still be known as the Duke of York but he is unable to use his title as “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity and any other roles will be distributed among other members of the royal family. Until now, Prince Andrew kept his military titles, but after mounting backlash from other veterans the Queen decided to strip Prince Andrew of his military titles as well.
Because Prince Andrew has been stripped of his title, the royal family can now distance themselves from the controversy surrounding him. As of today, there is no date set for the civil case to be heard, but despite the outcome of the case, these events may forever change the royal family and people’s views surrounding them.