UK NEWS
Buckingham Palace must decide if Prince Andrew loses final military title, says Ben Wallace

Buckingham Palace must decide whether the Duke of York loses his last military title, the Defence Secretary has said.

Ben Wallace became the first Cabinet minister to comment on the news that Prince Andrew had reached an out-of-court settlement believed to be worth more than £12 million with Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

The settlement means the Duke will no longer face a jury trial on claims that he sexually abused and raped Ms Giuffre – who was trafficked by the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – on three separate occasions when she was 17.

The Duke, who has always vehemently denied the allegations, remains a Vice-Admiral as a former member of the Armed Forces despite having been stripped of his patronages, honorary military roles and HRH title in January.

Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday morning, Mr Wallace insisted it was not up to the Government to decide whether Prince Andrew keeps his title.

Ben Wallace - VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

© Provided by The TelegraphBen Wallace – VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“I don’t think he represents any of them at the moment,” Mr Wallace told Sky News. “The Palace took a decision that those titles were to be removed from him.

“I think he effectively is acting now as a private citizen insofar as both addressing the challenges and the allegations, and I think there’s been obviously a payment and that is where he currently remains.

“The decision on titles rests obviously with the Palace in the future, but it’s been pretty clear that this settlement is a recognition that he wants to bring this to a close and also recognise, as his statement says, the suffering and the challenges that the victims have been through as a result of their allegations, and their stand against the exploitation by Epstein.”

Meanwhile, Rachael Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, said that Prince Andrew should drop his Duke of York title to show “respect” for people living in the city.

Royals who have lost HRH title

© Provided by The TelegraphRoyals who have lost HRH title

“Although it is a relief that Prince Andrew has finally acknowledged and expressed regret for his close association with a convicted sex offender and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, his long delay in doing so and initial response to the charges and Ms Giuffre have been a source of deep hurt and embarrassment to many people across the city,” she said.

“Carrying a title does create an ambassadorial relationship with that place, and for somewhere with a global reputation, such as York, this is extremely important. 

“It is to be welcomed that he has now pledged to support the fight against the evils of sex trafficking and its victims.

“To demonstrate his seriousness in this endeavour, and his respect for those affected by abuse and the people of our city, I would ask that his first act of contrition is to confirm his support for the withdrawal of his ducal title.”

The terms of Prince Andrew’s deal will remain secret, but in a joint statement released on Tuesday the Duke expressed regret about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and confirmed that he will make a “substantial donation” to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

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