Humiliation for Prince Andrew as Twitter page deleted by Palace to reflect ‘private citizen’ status

·4-min read
The Duke of York is facing a civil sex abuse trial in the autumn and is preparing to be grilled under oath - Chris Jackson/Getty Images
The Duke of York is facing a civil sex abuse trial in the autumn and is preparing to be grilled under oath - Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace has deleted the Duke of York’s Twitter profile and updated its website to reflect his newfound status as a “private citizen”.

His official Instagram page, which uses the handle @hrhthedukeofyork and has 219,000 followers, was made private, while his Facebook page is in the process of being taken down. The Duke has agreed to no longer use his HRH title.

His page on the Royal family’s website was updated with the statement, released last week, confirming that his military titles and royal patronages had been returned to the Queen and that he would not carry out any public duties.

His official duties are listed in the past tense, while further content detailing his work has been removed.

The website now states: “An important part of The Duke of York’s role was to support The Queen’s work as Head of State.”

The news came barely a week after the Duke was stripped of his titles, as the Queen sought to protect the Royal family from the fallout of his sexual abuse case.

Whilst billed as a practical step to reflect recent developments, it is the latest humiliation for the Duke, who is facing a civil trial in the autumn and is preparing to be grilled under oath, possibly as early as next month.

He has insisted that he will continue to defend the civil case, related to his friendship with the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, declaring it a “marathon not a sprint”.

However, The Telegraph understands that he has come under increasing royal pressure to draw a line under the high-profile legal proceedings, which would mean paying off his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, to avoid further damaging the reputation of the monarchy.

The Duke is accused of raping or sexually assaulting Ms Giuffre on three seprate occasioins when she was 17, after she was trafficked by Epstein. The Duke denies the claims.

The Duke of Cambridge made no response on Wednesday when asked if he backed his uncle during a visit to the Foundling Museum in London.

Last Friday, the Prince of Wales also refused to answer questions about the Duke of York’s position as he toured a storm-hit country estate in Aberdeenshire.

Both the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge were involved in the crisis talks to decide Prince Andrew’s future.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said of the latest developments: “Changes have been made to the website and social media channels to reflect the recent statement from Buckingham Palace regarding The Duke of York.”

A royal source said that the Duke remained a member of the Royal family and so would continue to be featured on the website. Details of his past duties remain online via the Court Circular.

The social media channels, which were established to reflect his official work with patronages, charities and military associations, have not been in regular use since he stepped back from official duties following his disastrous Newsnight interview in November 2019.

The Duke’s Facebook page, which has 117,000 followers and features the Order of the Garter’s motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense”, meaning “Shamed be whoever thinks ill of it”, remained live on Wednesday morning but is also being deleted.

Duke of York’s social media pages
Duke of York’s social media pages

The last update was made in January 2020, two months after his Newsnight interview, when his personal biography was updated to read: “Welcome to the The Duke of York’s Facebook page. Messages from HRH are signed -AY.”

The post attracted more than 500 comments from supporters and detractors alike.

The last work-related update was made on Nov 10 2019, when the Duke joined the Queen and other members of the Royal family at the annual Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph, his last official public duty.

The decision to remove his official online profiles appears to differ from that taken when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit royal duties to move abroad.

The couple’s Sussex Royal Instagram page, despite being unused since they formally quit royal duties in March 2020, remains live, with all content accessible.

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