Prince Andrew Loses Freedom of the City Title Over Epstein Scandal

Prince Andrew has been stripped of his Freedom of the City of York honor due to his associations with convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Councilors voted unanimously that it was no longer suitable for Prince Andrew to represent York and its residents, according to the British network ITV. York officials decided to cut ties with Prince Andrew in the wake of his own sexual assault allegations.

Darryl Smalley, City of York Council's Executive Member for Culture, said the Freedom of the City of York was "the highest honor" the city could bestow.

"The honor is held by many notable and accomplished people who carry it with pride and responsibly. Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, we believe that it is right to remove all links that Prince Andrew still has with our great city," Smalley said, according to ITV.

Prince Andrew Loses Freedom of the City
Prince Andrew has been stripped of his Freedom of the City of York honor due to his associations with convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty Images/Getty

Prince Andrew was granted the title in 1987 as a wedding gift after marrying Sarah Ferguson the previous year.

"I was pleased to see councilors of all parties support this motion and make it clear that it is no longer appropriate for Prince Andrew to represent York and its residents," Smalley continued, reported ITV. "The removal of this honorary title sends the right message that we as a city stand with victims of abuse."

Smalley said the next step is for Prince Andrew "to do the right thing" and relinquish his Duke of York title.

"If he fails to do so, the government and Buckingham Palace must step in to remove his title to finally end Prince Andrew's connection to York," Smalley said, according to ITV.

Prince Andrew was sued by Virginia Giuffre in a New York court in August 2021, with her complaint accusing him of raping her when she was 17 years old and that she was a victim of sex trafficking because of Epstein and Maxwell.

After Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered a trial in January 2022, Prince Andrew settled and awarded Giuffre an undisclosed amount. He did not admit liability and has always maintained he is innocent of the allegations against him.

In January, the Queen stripped Prince Andrew of his military titles and patronages including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards—one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British army—amid the lawsuit.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement, "With the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen," according to the BBC.

Newsweek reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment.