Prince Andrew gives up honorary life membership of prestigious club ahead of sex case

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·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
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Prince Andrew has relinquished his honorary membership of a prestigious golf club, as his sexual assault case looms (PA/Getty)
Prince Andrew has relinquished his honorary membership of a prestigious golf club, as his sexual assault case looms (PA/Getty)

Prince Andrew has relinquished his honorary membership of a prestigious golf club, as his sexual assault case looms.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews confirmed on Friday morning that the Duke of York, 61, had given up his membership.

In a statement, the prestigious members-only club said: “I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has received notification that the Duke of York will relinquish his Honorary Membership. We respect and appreciate his decision.”

The club is known as the home of golf, and has the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world.

Andrew is facing a civil trial in the US facing accusations from Virginia Guiffre that she was forced to have sex with him on three occasions when she was 17.

He has denied all allegations against him.

Read more: Prince Andrew loses military titles and use of HRH status after 'face to face' meeting with Queen

The Duke of York plays a shot at the Royal and Ancient Golf club in St Andrews, Fife,  after  assuming the position of captain of the club today. The Duke drove himself into golfing history today when he became the sixth member of the Royal Family to captain the sport's oldest club. He opened his captaincy with a spectacular drive off the first tee at the historic links, accompanied by the firing of a cannon.  22/03/2004: The Duke of York is to visit the United States Master's golf tournament next month, it was reported Sunday March 21 2004. He will in Augusta, Georgia, on April 5 for the Augusta National golf tournament, according to the calendar posted by Queen's press secretary.
The Duke of York plays a shot at the Royal and Ancient Golf club in St Andrews, Fife, in 2004 (PA)

On Thursday the Duke demanded a trial by jury to face the claims.

The duke submitted 11 reasons why the case should be dismissed, including that Giuffre’s claims are "barred by the doctrine of consent" and by "her own wrongful conduct".

But in the same court document, Andrew’s lawyers concluded: “Prince Andrew hereby demands a trial by jury on all causes of action asserted in the complaint.”

David Boies, who is representing Giuffre in her lawsuit against Andrew, said his client and legal team were looking forward to “confronting” the royal about his “denials”.

Giuffre is suing the duke for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend and a convicted sex offender, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law, at the London home of disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in the early 2000s.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club and Swilcan Bridge on the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. Known as the home of golf, the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world will host the 150th Open in 2022 following this years Open at Royal St George�s in Kent being postponed until next year.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is known as the home of golf, and has the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world (PA)

The duke is also alleged to have sexually abused Giuffre during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, and on a separate occasion at the financier’s Manhattan mansion.

Maxwell was recently convicted of sex trafficking at a court in New York, she has not yet been sentenced but could face life in prison.

The duke has also denied that he refused to cooperate with US authorities in their investigation and prosecution of Epstein.

Andrew’s lawyers have also stated he did not throw Maxwell a birthday party at Sandringham, and “lacked sufficient information to admit or deny” inviting Epstein to his daughter’s 18th birthday party a month after the financier became a convicted sex offender.

Watch: Prince Andrew's legal team has requested a trial by jury in New York

Earlier this month, Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen after a US judge ruled his trial for sex offences could go ahead.

A royal source told the PA News Agency the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, was involved in crisis talks over the matter.

The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family, meaning Andrew's removal from public life is a permanent one.

The trial, and the legal proceedings before it, will overshadow the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and threaten the existence of the monarchy by sparking a “debate about the relevancy and appropriateness of the royal family,” Media lawyer Mark Stephens said.

He said any trial could have far-reaching consequences for the monarchy: "I can’t conceive that the royal family will allow him to run this case and overshadow the Platinum Jubilee.

"It’s going to spark a debate about the relevancy and appropriateness of the royal family and we’ve already seen that they moved very fast to strip him of his titles and that debate abated, but the more detail that comes out the more there’s going to be a problem for the wider royal family."

Stephens said any trial could have far-reaching consequences for the monarchy: "I can’t conceive that the royal family will allow him to run this case and overshadow the Platinum Jubilee.

"It’s going to spark a debate about the relevancy and appropriateness of the royal family and we’ve already seen that they moved very fast to strip him of his titles and that debate abated, but the more detail that comes out the more there’s going to be a problem for the wider royal family."

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