Monday, May 23rd, 2022

Prince Andrew’s social media accounts deleted as he fights US lawsuit | Prince Andrew

The Duke of York’s social media accounts are being deleted as he continues his legal battle to fight a sexual assault lawsuit filed against him in the US.

Last week the Queen stripped her second son of his honorary military affiliations and royal patronages, and he agreed not to use his royal style HRH in any official capacity.

Prince Andrew’s official Twitter handle, TheDukeOfYork, now leads to a blank page. His YouTube page is also no longer accessible. While his Instagram account, hrhthedukeofyork, still appeared on Wednesday, it is understood that that too is being removed, along with his Facebook account, but some accounts are taking longer to filter through.

A screenshot of the Duke of York's Twitter account saying 'this account doesn't exist'
A screenshot of the Duke of York’s Twitter account. Photograph: Twitter/PA

Royal aides have also updated the British monarchy’s official website as Buckingham Palace seeks to distance the institution from Andrew’s legal battle.

While the prince still appears under the section titled Members of the Royal Family, the list of his military affiliations and patronages has been removed. Buckingham Palace announced last week that the roles would be shared out among other members of the royal family. The decision was made after discussion between senior family members.

The website also includes details of the Queen’s statement, reading: “In January 2022, Buckingham Palace made a statement announcing that, with the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, and the Duke will continue to not carry out public duties.”

Under the heading Supporting the Queen, Andrew’s official duties are listed in the past tense, such as attending trooping the colour and his diamond jubilee tour to India on behalf of the monarch. The website states: “An important part of the Duke of York’s role was to support the Queen’s work as head of state.”


Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew


In the early 90s, Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, met investment banker and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Their relationship was initially romantic, but it evolved into something more akin to Maxwell being a confidante and personal assistant. 

Prince Andrew was reportedly introduced to Epstein through Maxwell in 1999, and Epstein reportedly visited the Queen’s private retreat
in Aberdeenshire.

Some have suggested the introduction was made earlier. A 2011 letter to the Times of London from the prince’s then private secretary, Alastair Watson, suggests Andrew and Epstein knew each other from the early 90s.

Andrew, Maxwell and Epstein are seen together at Donald
’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Later that year, Epstein and Maxwell
attend a joint birthday party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen.

Andrew and Epstein holiday together and are pictured on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand, surrounded by topless women. The Times of London reported the prince’s holiday was paid for by Epstein.

In the same year, Virginia Giuffre, then 17, claims to have had sex
with Andrew in Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, London. Giuffre, whose surname was
Roberts at the time of the alleged incidents, says she slept with Andrew
twice more, at Epstein’s
New York home and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean.

Epstein is jailed for 18 months by a Florida state court after pleading guilty to
prostituting minors.

Soon after his release, Epstein is visited by
Andrew in New York. The pair are photographed together in Central Park. Footage
emerges years later, reportedly shot on 6 December, that appears to show Andrew
inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion waving goodbye to a woman from behind a door.

Andrew quits his role as UK trade envoy following a
furore over the Central Park photos.

Allegations that Andrew had sex with Giuffre emerge
in court documents in Florida related to Epstein. The papers say she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is below the
age of consent under Florida law. Buckingham Palace denies the allegations. The claims against Andrew are later struck from US civil
court records following a federal judge’s ruling.

Andrew is accused of sexual
impropriety by a second alleged Epstein victim, Johanna Sjoberg. She claims he
touched her breast at the billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.
Buckingham Palace says the allegations are “categorically untrue”.

Epstein is found dead in his jail cell after being re-arrested and charged with sex trafficking. A medical examiner says the death was a suicide. A pilot on Epstein’s private jet later that month claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Giuffre.

Andrew takes part in a disastrous BBC TV interview during which he claims he could not have had sex with Giuffre because he was at home after a visit to Pizza Express in Woking, and that her description of his dancing with her beforehand could not be true because he was unable to sweat, and that he had “no recollection of ever meeting this lady”. After several days of negative reaction, Andrew announces he is to step back from public duties “for the foreseeable future”.

US prosecutor Geoffrey Berman gives a public statement suggesting there has been “zero cooperation” with the investigation from Andrew.

After Berman again claims Andrew has “completely shut the door” on cooperating with the US investigation in March, lawyers for the prince insist he has repeatedly offered to cooperate and accuse US prosecutors of misleading the public and breaching confidentiality.

Maxwell, who has seldom been seen in public in recent years, is arrested by the FBI on charges related to Epstein. Unsealed testimony from a 2015 civil case reveal a series of claims about her role in Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring, including allegations that she trained underage girls as sex slaves

US officials confirm that Prince Andrew has received court papers relating to a sexual assault civil lawsuit from Giuffre, seeking damages. Her lawyers had earlier said the duke had officially been served with the papers, but his legal team had disputed the claim. Two weeks later, a court in New York granted his lawyers permission to see the confidential settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein.

The Metropolitan police in London say they are taking no further action after a review of the allegations that Prince Andrew assaulted Giuffre. In August, the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, had said “no one is above the law” and that she had asked her team to look at the material again.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial ends with a guilty verdict on five of the six counts she faced.

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Virginia Giuffre, 38, is suing Andrew, 61, in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She claims she was trafficked by his friend Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted paedophile, to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law. Andrew has denied the allegations.

The Duke of Cambridge made no response when he was asked whether he backed his uncle on Wednesday. Prince William was leaving the Foundling Museum in London with the Duchess of Cambridge when a member of a TV news crew asked: “Do you support Prince Andrew?” William leaned closer to hear and then walked past without commenting.

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