One of the Army veterans who called on the Queen to remove the Duke of York’s honorary military roles has welcomed the decision to strip him of the posts, saying: “I’m just glad he’s not associated with the military now.”
Lieutenant Stuart Hunt, who served in The 1st Royal Tank Regiment, branded the matter an “unsavoury business” and said the duke had brought the armed forces into disrepute.
He suggested the matter should have been resolved at least two years ago, and Andrew should have taken the decision himself to stand down then.
Lt Hunt, who served in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s, was one of 152 former Army, RAF and Royal Navy personnel who signed an open letter to the monarch urging her to remove Andrew’s honorary military posts while the duke faces a civil sexual assault trial.
Lt Hunt told the PA news agency: “It’s an unsavoury business… I’m just glad he’s not associated with the military now.
“I’m pleased although it should have happened two years ago or in fact longer when he was taking his little trips out to play golf in St Andrews.”
He lambasted Andrew as “not fit to serve” in an honorary rank and said he lacked any form of credibility as an effective leader.
The 52-year-old, who trained to be an officer at Sandhurst, said: “Whether he’s guilty or not, he has brought things into disrepute… He’s not fit to serve in an honorary rank. He has forgone that right by getting into this sort of situation.”
The finance director, who lives in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, added: “A better man would have stood down whether innocent or guilty for the sake of the organisation… It’s repugnant really.”
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.
The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.
In the letter to the Queen released on Thursday, the veterans described their “upset and anger” at Andrew retaining the titles, saying his position was “untenable”.
They made a heartfelt plea, saying: “Please do not leave it any longer.”
They added that “were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post”.
Buckingham Palace released a statement later on the same day saying the duke’s military affiliations and royal patronages had been returned to the Queen.
The duke will also no longer use his HRH style in an official capacity.