Andrew keeps dukedom and naval rank after sex assault lawsuit settlement

The duke has agreed to an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre.

16 February 2022

The Duke of York is keeping his dukedom and his service rank of Vice Admiral and will remain a Counsellor of State despite agreeing to an out-of-court settlement in a sexual assault lawsuit.

There are growing calls for Andrew to give up the York title, or for the Queen to remove it, in the wake of his financial agreement with Virginia Giuffre, who accused the duke of having sex with her after she was trafficked.

The dukedom was a gift from his mother on his wedding day in 1986 and was previously used by the Queen’s father George VI.

Royalty – Duke and Duchess of York Wedding – Westminster Abbey
The Duke and Duchess of York on their wedding day (PA)

Labour MP Rachael Maskell, who represents York Central, has called on Andrew to withdraw his title to show “respect” for people living in York.

Palace sources said there has been no change to Andrew’s current titles since the duke was stripped of his honorary military roles by the monarch last month, when he also stopped using his HRH style.

He remains the Duke of York and also a Vice Admiral.

As a former royal member of the armed forces who served in the Royal Navy, he was by convention promoted in line with his still-serving peers and made Vice Admiral by the Navy on his 55th birthday in 2015.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the decision on titles “rests obviously with the Palace in the future”.

Andrew remains in the line of succession to the throne – ninth in line – and is also a Counsellor of State.

Audience at Windsor Castle
The Queen told how she has trouble moving during an audience on Wednesday (Steve Parsons/PA)

In the event the Queen could not undertake her official duties as sovereign on a temporary basis due to illness, two or more Counsellors of State are appointed by Letters Patent to act in her place.

With the monarch, now 95, indicating on Wednesday she is experiencing trouble moving, Palace aides will be under greater pressure to resolve the Counsellor of State situation in case she falls unwell.

Counsellors of State are appointed from among the following: the monarch’s consort (which was the late Duke of Edinburgh) and the four adults over the age of 21 next in succession.

These are currently the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of York.

The Queen is empowered to appoint Counsellors under the Regency Acts 1937-53, and legislation would be needed to remove Andrew.

But sources have suggested there will be no change in the law.

Harry also no longer carries out royal duties.

Living away from the UK in California could potentially disqualify Harry from his Counsellor of State role, although he could travel back to London if ever required, despite not being a working royal.

Last week, Charles contracted Covid, there were fears the Queen had also caught the virus, and William was abroad in Dubai, meaning the Counsellor of State roles would have fallen to Andrew and Harry if both the monarch and Charles were too unwell to carry out duties.

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