Prince Andrew to Edward VIII: The Royals Who've Been Stripped of Their Titles

Just over a year after Buckingham Palace announced Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was stepping back from public duties for the "foreseeable future," the second son of Queen Elizabeth II has officially been stripped of his honorary military titles.

The move came 24 hours after a U.S. judge ruled Prince Andrew would face the lawsuit against him regarding sexual assault, filed by Virginia Giuffre in New York State. Prince Andrew has repeatedly denied the claims made against him.

The removal of "HRH," meaning His or Her Royal Highness, for members of the royal family and their military titles is extremely uncommon, but it is not the first time it has occurred. In fact, it is the second time it has occurred this decade alone.

Here's a list of all the royals who have been stripped of their titles.

The Royals Who Have Been Stripped of Their Titles

Prince Andrew

On Thursday, January 13, Buckingham Palace issued a statement announcing Prince Andrew had returned his military titles and royal patronages to the Queen.

The Palace also confirmed Andrew, 61, would no longer be using the style His Royal Highness (HRH) in an official capacity, but will retain the title.

The official statement read: "With the Queen's approval and agreement, the Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen.

"The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen."

His roles will also be redistributed amongst the Royal Family.

Prince Andrew had a 22-year career in the Royal Navy and also served as a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War. In total, he has lost nine military titles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, one of the most senior awards.

The BBC reports Prince Andrew has lost the titles of Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Lossiemouth, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Irish Regiment, Colonel-in-Chief of the Small Arms School Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeth's Own), Colonel-in-Chief of the Yorkshire Regiment, Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers and Royal Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He will also lose the honor roles of Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Highland Fusiliers Of Canada, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess Louise Fusiliers of Canada, and Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen's York Rangers (1st American Regiment).

The announcement comes just one day after a U.S. judge ruled in favor of Virginia Giuffre, who filed a civil case against the Queen's son in August 2021, under New York's Child Victims Act.

Giuffre alleges she was the victim of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein and was sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew when she was 17 years old. Prince Andrew denies all of the claims made against him.

Prince Andrew military titles
Prince Andrew, Duke of York arrives for a reception at the Honourable Artillery Company following the Afghanistan service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral on March 13, 2015 in London, England. He has since been stripped of all of his military titles. Photo by Niklas Halle'n - WPA Pool / Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, and the Queen's grandson, lost his official royal title His Royal Highness alongside his wife, Meghan Markle in 2020.

Harry and Meghan officially took a step back from royal duties in January 2020 after "many months of reflection and internal discussions," the couple wrote in a joint statement on the official @sussexroyal Instagram account.

In the statement, Harry and Meghan confirmed they would be working to become "financial independent" and would continue to support The Queen, the Commonwealth, and their patronages.

As a result, they were stripped of their His and Her Royal Highness titles. Harry also lost his military titles, despite serving 10 years in the British Army and his service in Afghanistan.

The military titles he lost included Captain-General of the Royal Marines, a title he inherited from his grandfather Prince Philip, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington in Suffolk, Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships, and Diving, Royal Naval Command.

A Buckingham Palace statement issued at the time read: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have confirmed to Her Majesty The Queen that they will not be returning as working members of The Royal Family.

"Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.

"The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.

"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family."

Today, Harry and Meghan no longer use their HRH titles in an official capacity, but have retained them. Harry also remains a prince and lives with Meghan and their two children, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor and Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor in California.

Princess Diana

When Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996, Princess Diana lost her HRH status.

In exchange for a settlement and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace, Diana agreed to handover the HRH title and any future claims to the British throne.

Diana died one year later on August 31, 1997. She was killed in a car accident in Paris alongside her companion Dodi Fayed.

Prince Charles married the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, on April 9, 2005.

princess diana royal titles
Diana, Princess of Wales, lost her HRH title when she divorced Prince Charles in 1996. Anwar Hussein/WireImage

King Edward VIII

King Edward VIII perhaps lost the most prestigious royal title of all—King of the United Kingdom and the British Empire—when he abdicated the throne in 1936.

Edward stepped down as King Edward VIII to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson, whom he met in 1934. At the time, Simpson had already been divorced once and was seeking a divorce from her second husband.

When King Edward VIII proposed to Simpson, his proposal was rejected by the Church of England because, at that time, the church did got give their blessing to divorced people to remarry in the church if a former spouse was still alive.

He resumed the title Prince Edward and his younger brother, King George VI, was appointed to the throne in January 1936. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, is the U.K.'s current monarch.

With a reign of just 326 days, Edward is the shortest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.

King Edward VIII abdication
King Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry Wallis Simpson Bettmann via Getty Images