Prince Andrew, on the sidelines of the British monarchy because of his links with the Epstein affair, lost on Wednesday the honorary title granted to him by the English city of York.
Following a unanimous vote of local elected officials, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Duke of the northern English city, has been stripped of the Freedom of the City of York. This title, once associated with important functions but which now retains only an honorary value, had been granted in 1987. It dates back to 1272, but it is referred to from the time of the Anglo-Saxons.
The Freemen had a role in controlling trade and managing grazing rights. Prince Andrew, 62, was stripped of any official role in January and can no longer use his title of Royal Highness after being accused by American Virginia Giuffre of sexually assaulting her in 2001, when she was under the control of the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein. He obtained the abandonment of the civil lawsuits that had been initiated against him in the American justice system thanks to a confidential agreement.
Before the vote, a local resident, Gwen Swinburn, called Prince Andrew a disgrace and said he should be declared persona non grata in the city and even lose his title of Duke. Our Queen has taken away almost all his titles and responsibilities, except the title of Duke, which taints this city, she said.
Independent politician Mark Warters stressed before the vote that stripping Andrew of the honorary title the city had given him would send a strong signal. Among the residents interviewed by AFP, Peter Robinson, a 65-year-old retiree, sees Prince Andrew as an embarrassment to York. If some, like John Neal, 61, see in the financial agreement with his accuser an admission of guilt, others, like Delilah Pinfold, stress that the problem is that it is not proven.
Prince Andrew had appeared on March 29 in public at Westminster Abbey, on the arm of his mother Elizabeth II, during a ceremony of tribute to Prince Philip, husband of the Queen, who died early April 2021 at the age of 99.