Prince Andrew has lost another ceremonial honor as groups across Britain cut ties with the disgraced royal over allegations of sexual misconduct.
On Wednesday evening, York City Council in the north of the country voted unanimously to strip the prince’s “freedom of the city”. The honor was bestowed on Andrew in 1987 after Queen Elizabeth named him Duke of York.
Andrew is the first person to be stripped of this status, a purely ceremonial honor that dates back to medieval times when “free men” enjoyed special privileges. Among the winners are actress Dame Judi Dench and Princess Anne, Andrew’s sister.
Andrew was stripped of his honorary military roles in January amid fury surrounding a lawsuit alleging he had sex with a 17-year-old girl and feared scandal would taint the Windsor household. The Queen also withdrew her honorary leadership of various charities, known as Royal Patrons, and prohibited her from using the title “Her Royal Highness” in official settings.
Andrew then settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay his accuser an undisclosed sum which British media said could be as high as 12 million pounds (C$19.5 million). He denies the allegations.
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“Serious damage to reputation”
York Councilor Darryl Smalley said the city was simply following the example set by the Queen in stripping Andrew’s titles.
“She saw that it seriously damaged the reputation of these military institutions and charities and therefore intervened to remove him from these positions,” Smalley told ITV News. “We believe very strongly, and many locals agree with us, that we should remove all ties between our town and Prince Andrew.”
Smalley and other local leaders argued that Andrew should also lose the Duke of York title.
“York has a fantastic relationship with the monarchy that goes back hundreds of years. It’s something we cherish,” he said. “We can’t cherish him when we have Prince Andrew as our oldest royal.”
A rep for Andrew declined to comment Thursday.