Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and will defend a civil sexual assault as a “private citizen”, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

“With the Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronage have been returned to the Queen,” the Palace said in a statement.

“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

Andrew will no longer be known as His Royal Highness.

Virginia Giuffre is suing Andrew in a federal court in New York alleging she was forced to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein’s friends – including the Duke of York – when she was 17. Prince Andrew strongly denies the allegations against him.

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Meanwhile, Ghislaine Maxwell is no longer fighting to hide information – including eight names – from Ms Giuffre’s lawsuit against her, her lawyers say.

Lawyers for Ms Giuffre, who has accused Maxwell and Epstein of sexually abusing her, have long fought to unseal the names of eight “John Does” mentioned in their 2015 civil lawsuit.

Maxwell’s attorneys pushed back, but on Thursday they appeared to give up the fight.

More to follow…

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