Prince Andrew's military and royal titles withdrawn as a result of a sexual assault investigation

 In the aftermath of his protracted legal struggle with Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, Prince Andrew's military affiliations and royal patronages are being restored to Queen Elizabeth II at her request.

Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday in a statement that the reigning queen, 95, consented to accept the returned honours.

"The Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen with The Queen's permission and agreement," the statement said. "The Duke of York will continue to abstain from governmental service and will fight this matter as a private person."

According to one royal source, the Duke of York will no longer use "His Royal Highness" or HRH in any official capacity.

On Wednesday, a court declined to dismiss an American woman's complaint against the British royal, alleging he sexually molested her when she was 17.

A photo in court filings shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre, who claims Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince.

Andrew's counsel argued that Giuffre's action should be dismissed at an early stage because of an earlier legal settlement she made with Epstein, the late American financier she said set up sexual encounters with the king, 61. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected that argument. According to Kaplan, the $500,000 settlement between Epstein and Giuffre did not involve the prince and does not preclude a future litigation against him.

The judge ruled that the allegations are "vague" but not "unintelligible" Prince Andrew's lawyers could cast doubt on the truth of the claims at trial. A judge has said a trial would not occur until late this year, at the earliest, and deposition will take place before then.

Buckingham Palace will want him to settle the case so the queen can move on without more sordid headlines, analyst says. Even though Andrew is likely to appeal, the case will move forward, and he will face the embarrassment of having to testify.

"The practical realities of this position have stuck a noose around Prince Andrew's neck," lawyer Julian Zelizer says. Andrew was married to Sarah Ferguson from 1986 until 1996 and is the father of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

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