In a statement released by Buckingham Palace it has been announced that Prince Andrew will lose all his military titles and no longer be known officially as His Royal Highness, after a New York judge ruled the Queen’s son would face trial over accusations he sexually assaulted Virginia Giuffre when she was a teenager.
‘With The Queen's approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,’ the Palace’s statement read. ‘The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.’
This withdrawal from public duty was not a decision but an order. The royal family appears to want to distance itself from Prince Andrew to save reputational damage and limit any association with the horrible crime he is accused of committing, should he be found guilty.
Yet, bizarrely, the removal of Prince Andrew’s titles by force is now being compared to Prince Harry’s active choice to step down from his royal duties last year.
These scenarios are ludicrously far from comparable. While Prince Andrew is an accused criminal, Prince Harry made the decision to step back from royal duties, return his royal patronages, and public usage of the HRH prefix to protect his family from traumatising media attention and violent extremist threats.
‘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,’ a statement from Buckingham Palace read at the time.
‘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,’ it continued.
Clearly, Harry’s decision was a resignation and Andrew’s order to step down was a firing. But, still, the men have been lumped together in tabloids as ‘disgraced royals’. They’re referred to as ‘the duo’ facing similar ‘humiliation’ as though they were somehow in cahoots and are now facing the same discipline.
Let’s be clear, even if Prince Andrew and Harry are stripped of the same titles and denied the same veterans medals at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the motivations behind the royal family revoking these privileges and acknowledgements could not be further removed.
As Prince Harry continues to fight for the protection of his family by offering to pay for protection from the police while visiting the UK, Prince Andrew is gearing up for his day in court which he will begrudgingly attend after attempting to have the case thrown out on a technicality.
This is a case of safeguarding vs self interest and rationality vs retribution. To amalgamate the two public figure's situations and brand them similarly as 'disgraced royals' is to undermine Harry's courage and minimise Prince Andrews alleged offence.