Prince Andrew's Twitter account quietly deleted as scandal-hit royal faces new criticism
A week after a humiliated Prince Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages, the Duke of York has now had a social media account unceremoniously scrapped.
Last week, a lawsuit against Andrew took a major step forward on when a judge threw out the duke’s motion to dismiss the sexual assault case and ruled it can go to trial.
Less than 48 hours later, Andrew was removed from official royal life as the monarchy looks to distance itself ahead of an impending trial.
On Wednesday it emerged his official Twitter account has been deleted with followers of @TheDukeOfYork faced with a blank page and a ‘This account doesn’t exist’ message.
The account was live as recently as Monday with the description reading: "The Official Twitter Account for The Duke of York. Tweets sent by HRH are signed - AY."
However the Twitter account is now absent, the duke's official Instagram page remains up – and still using the 'HRH' title despite the Queen stripping Andrew of the write to use it.
The page was last updated in November 2019, with a post from Andrew announcing he was stepping back from his public duties in light of the controversies surrounding him following his disastrous Newsnight interview.
The profile picture contains the Latin inscription 'Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense', which means "Shame on him who thinks evil of it" and is the motto of the Order of the Garter - the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system which Andrew has not been stripped of.
Virginia Giuffre is suing the duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.
She claims she was trafficked by the duke’s friend, convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law.
Ms Giuffre claims Andrew had sex with her against her will in London and at Epstein’s mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Watch: Prince Andrew: Judge decides sex assault case will go ahead
The duke is also alleged to have abused Ms Giuffre on another occasion during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, and on a separate occasion at Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
The duke has strenuously denied all allegations.
Connections to the duke are also being severed in the public arena, with York Racecourse renaming the Duke of York Stakes in a bid to distance itself from the Queen’s controversial second son.
Even though the prestigious six-furlong sprint was named after another Duke of York – Prince George, Duke of York who became King George V – officials at the course are to attempt to make its history clearer.
Andrew was appointed the racecourse’s first patron in 2015, but gave up the position in 2019 after stepping down from public duties.
Calls have also been made for Andrew to lose his York dukedom, which was given to him by his mother on his wedding day in 1986.
An ITV documentary that aired on Tuesday night, Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophile, featured claims that Andrew had previously been in a relationship with Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.
Maxwell was convicted on 29 December of procuring teenage girls for Epstein and will be sentenced this summer.
Euan Rellie, who socialised with Maxwell, said: “I got the sense that Prince Andrew and Ghislaine had probably been boyfriend and girlfriend in the past. They had an easy warmth around each other.”
On Tuesday, the UK's armed forces minister James Heappey said the associations kept by the Duke of York were “horrifically ill-advised”.
Heappey said Andrew had “caused enormous challenges for the Royal Family in a year when we should be celebrating the extraordinary service of Her Majesty the Queen as she reaches her platinum jubilee”.
He said he could not give any further comments which “might risk being too colourful”.
Watch: Prince Andrew stripped of all patronages and affiliations