Prince Andrew stripped of Freedom of the City of York after sex abuse case settlement

Now councillors call for prince to give up Duke of York title

Liam James
Wednesday 27 April 2022 20:09
<p>Andrew at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2019</p>

Andrew at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2019

Prince Andrew has lost the Freedom of the City of York after councillors voted unanimously to strip him of the honour in the wake of his settlement in a sexual abuse case.

The vote was taken at a City of York council meeting on Wednesday where several councillors and members of public also called for Andrew to relinquish his Duke of York title and thereby remove what Labour councillor Aisling Musson called: “This stain of an association with this city.”

They said that if the duke failed to act the Queen or the government should step in a remove the title.

Both Buckingham Palace and a spokesperson for the Duke of York declined to comment.

Andrew is the first person ever to have the Freedom of the City removed, councillors were told. He held the status for 45 years, being granted it alongside ex-wife Sarah Ferguson as a gift for their wedding.

Lib Dem, Labour, Tory, Green and independent councillors came together to vote for him to lose the honour. There were two formal abstentions – from the Lord Mayor and Lord Mayor elect.

First to speak from the public gallery at York Racecourse on Wednesday evening was Gwen Swinburn, who said: “Mr Andrew Windsor is an utter disgrace.

“He brings shame and reputational damage everywhere he goes, including to our city.

“The motion to withdraw his status goes nowhere near far enough. He needs to be be declared persona non grata in York.”

Councillor Smalley speaks at the York City Council meeting on Wednesday

Speaking after the meeting, Lib Dem Darryl Smalley, the council’s executive member for culture, leisure & communities and proposer of the motion, said: “The Honorary Freedom of York is the highest honour we, as a city, can bestow on those who represent the very best of York. The honour is held by many notable and accomplished people who carry it with pride and responsibly.

He added: “We believe that it is right to remove all links that Prince Andrew still has with our great city.

“I was pleased to see councillors 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.”

Rejection by the city of his royal title is the latest humiliation for the disgraced duke since he was accused of sexually abusing a teenager.

Andrew was in January stripped of his military titles and royal patronages as the abuse case against him headed to trial in the US.

Andrew with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson on their wedding day in 1986

The duke was accused by Virginia Giuffre of having slept with her when she was underage and being trafficked by his late friend Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew agreed to pay a multi-million pound financial settlement to Ms Giuffre in February. The out of court settlement accepted no liability and Andrew has always rejected any claims of wrongdoing.

The City of York tabled the motion to remove his freedom of the city soon after news of the settlement broke but the vote was delayed due to Covid.

The honorary status is bestowed by the city to recognise notable service by local residents, to distinguished people and to royalty.

Previous recipients of the honour include the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, John Barry and Dame Judi Dench.

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