Jacinda Ardern says Prince Andrew no longer holds New Zealand military patronage

Jacinda Ardern says Prince Andrew no longer holds New Zealand military patronage
Photo credit: Getty Images.

The Prime Minister has confirmed Prince Andrew no longer holds a New Zealand military patronage after he was stripped of a number of titles by the Queen on Friday morning.

"Buckingham Palace has recently announced that, with the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen," a statement from Jacinda Ardern's office says.

"In New Zealand, the Duke of York was formerly the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (The Duke of York's Own). As a result of patronages returning to the Queen, his appointment has now ended.

"Any further changes to Royal patronages and appointments would be a matter for the Prime Minister to raise with the Queen of New Zealand in due course."

Buckingham Palace made the announcement on Friday morning, just a day after a US judge ruled the Duke of York must face sex abuse claims. 

Virginia Giuffre alleges that Prince Andrew, the Queen's son and Duke of York, sexually assaulted her at the age of 17. She says this occurred after she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. 

The prince has consistently denied the allegations, including in an infamous 2019 interview in which one of his defences was a claim he cannot sweat

Following that disastrous interview, Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties for the "foreseeable future", noting his association with Epstein was a "major disruption" to the royal family.

On Thursday,  US District Judge Lewis Kaplan said Giuffre could pursue claims that Prince Andrew battered her and intentionally caused her emotional distress while the late financier Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

Prince Andrew's lawyers had argued he couldn't be tried as he was covered by a deal made in 2009 between Epstein and Giuffre.

The deal, released publicly earlier this month, shows that Giuffre was paid US$500,000 by the now-dead sex offender Epstein to end a claim for damages. She also agreed not to bring any cases against other "potential defendants"; whether that applies to Prince Andrew, who is not named in the deal, is what was put into question. The judge said it was too soon to decide that.

Buckingham Palace said on Friday that the prince will "continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen".

The Duke's officials said they were "unsurprised" by the ruling on Thursday due to the nature of the judge's engagement with their arguments.

"However, it was not a judgement on the merits of Ms Giuffre's allegations. This is a marathon not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims."

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