Image Credit: Titanic Belfast
Prince Andrew has faced another fresh blow as his Honorary Freeman of the city of York was removed by City of York councillors. The motion, which was presented on Wednesday 27 April, was voted for unanimously by councillors from across all political parties.
This follows the out of court legal settlement agreed by the Duke of York and his accuser Virginia Guiffre. It was reported that the sum totalled £12 million. The Duke of York also agreed to champion the causes of those that have suffered from or continue to suffer from sexual abuse.
The motion was presented to the council by executive member for culture, leisure and communities, Lib Dem Darryl Smalley, who urged Prince Andrew to relinquish his Duke of York title.
Speaking at the meeting, Darryl Smalley said: "The removal of this honorary title sends the right message that we as a city stand with victims of abuse. The next logical step is for Prince Andrew to do the right thing and relinquish his Duke of York title.
“If he fails to do so, the government and Buckingham Palace must step in to remove his title to finally end Prince Andrew’s connection to York.”
Another speaker described the Duke as an "utter disgrace who brings shame wherever he goes. He needs to be declared persona non grata in York".
The honorary Freedom of the City is awarded to individuals who are generally perceived to be respected members of the community or visiting dignitaries. Prince Andrew received his Honorary Freeman in 1987 as a wedding present after the announcement of his marriage to Sarah Ferguson.
Freedom of the City awards are very rarely removed. The last individual to whom this occurred was Jimmy Saville whose Honorary Freeman of Scarborough was posthumously removed in 2011.
As a sign of the crown’s recognition that Prince Andrew’s actions have been unacceptable, the Queen stripped Prince Andrew of his military affiliations and royal patronages. In official capacities, he is also no longer able to use the HRH title.
Calls continue for Prince Andrew to relinquish his Dukedom of York as a sign of retribution and acknowledgement of his regrettable actions, in relation to his connection with the disgraced paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Labour MP for York Central, Rachell Maskell, continues to be very vocal about this issue.
The York Press, York’s main newspaper, conducted a poll which showed that 88 percent of York residents support the Council’s decision to remove Prince Andrew’s Freedom of the City.