Prince Andrew is facing a vote in the cathedral city of York tonight, which could strip him of his Freedom of the City honour. The Duke of York was given the ambassadorial title in a big ceremony in 1987 shortly after his marriage to Sarah Ferguson. Tonight, a meeting of councillors from York will decide whether to dump the Duke of York as an Honorary Freeman, and remove one connection between the North Yorkshire cathedral city and the Queen’s second son. The campaign to remove the title gathered pace after Prince Andrew made an out of court settlement with the woman who had accused him of sexual assault. It ended the legal case in the USA where Prince Andrew was facing a court trial in a civil case over allegations made by Virginia Giuffre that she was trafficked to the prince for sex, by the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
ITV News Chris Ship spoke to the people of York and was hard pressed to find anyone who thinks he should keep the title
Prince Andrew always strenuously denied the allegations and there was no admission of liability in the settlement he signed with Ms Giuffre for an undisclosed sum thought to be in the region of £12 million. Prince Andrew remains the Duke of York as he keeps the dukedom bestowed on him by the Queen, but if he loses the Freedom of the City honour tonight, it will be yet another title stripped from him since the lawsuit. The Queen removed all his military and royal patronages shortly before Andrew’s legal case came to a sudden conclusion in February.
The prince was last seen at the Thanksgiving Service for his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, when Andrew escorted the Queen in the car from Windsor and supported her as she walked to her seat in Westminster Abbey. There were crowds of 200,000 people in York for the civic ceremony in 1987 when Prince Andrew was given the Freedom of the City. It’s an ancient honour which dates back hundred of years and recognises notable service to a city by ’persons of distinction’. York City Council will make the decision on Prince Andrew’s honour at a meeting at York Racecourse at 6pm on Wednesday.
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