Prince Andrew could lose Grenadier Guards military title as sex abuse case edges toward trial

Prince Andrew could lose a military title amid reports he could be tried over allegations he sexually assaulted a teenager 20 years ago. 

Virginia Guiffre, now 38, alleges the Duke of York sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was under the age of 18. She also claims convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell lent her out for sex with powerful associates, including the prince. He has denied all allegations.

But Prince Andrew's title as Colonel of the Regiment with the Grenadier Guards could be under threat following claims he's "not wanted" by them.

"He clings on to his colonelship of the Grenadier Guards," says BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell

"I'll tell you this: the Grenadier Guards don't want him."

The guards haven't spoken publicly about his case, but Witchell says that "behind the scenes, they are acutely embarrassed to have Prince Andrew as their colonel".

He took over the role in 2017 from his father, Prince Philip, who'd held the appointment since 1975.

Prince Andrew.
Prince Andrew. Photo credit: Getty Images

It comes after Prince Andrew's lawyers tried to pause the legal proceedings against him - a move that was turned down by a US judge. His lawyers wanted Giuffre to take part in a two-hour deposition to discuss her country of residence since she's been living in Western Australia, arguing this may disqualify her from filing a lawsuit in a US court.

Giuffre's lawyers called the prince's request a "tired" and "transparent" attempt to dodge document disclosures.

Prince Andrew stepped down from royal duties in November 2019 "for the foreseeable future" following a BBC interview where he detailed his friendship with Epstein, but his titles still remain intact.

There has been speculation he could lose his Duke of York title if he loses the case against Guiffre, but royal biographer Christopher Warwick is doubtful. 

Citing 1917 legislation aimed at stopping "enemy royals" from using British titles, he told Sky News: "Andrew is not an enemy of Britain, so the Titles Deprivation Act wouldn't come into it."