Prince Andrew has been stripped of the Freedom of the City of York after councillors unanimously voted to remove his title in the wake of his settled sexual abuse case.
Councillors in York gathered this evening to debate revoking the prince’s Freedom of the City honour, awarded to him in 1987. After discussing the motion for around half an hour, it passed unanimously.
The prince was branded ‘an utter disgrace’ during the extraordinary meeting and his continued clinging to the title Duke of York was described as a ‘stain’ on the city, Daily Mail reports.
Although symbolic, the new humiliation places Andrew under renewed pressure to quit as Duke of York, with civic leaders calling on the Queen, Palace or government to step in and strip him of the title if he refuses ‘to do the right thing’ and resign.
The council also noted objections from the public calling for the prince to be banned from attending horse racing events in the city. Another said he should be referred to as ‘Andrew Windsor’ in the future.
Andrew had been warned in advance that he would be losing the freedom of the city, an honour bestowed on him on February 23, 1987, as a wedding gift to Sarah Ferguson. He is the first person ever to have the Freedom of the City removed, councillors were told. There were two formal abstentions – from the Lord Mayor and Lord Mayor-elect.
Lib Dem Darryl Smalley, City of York Council’s executive member for culture, leisure & communities proposed the motion.
He said tonight: ‘The Honorary Freedom of York is the highest honour we, as a city, can bestow on those who represent the very best of York. The honour is held by many notable and accomplished people who carry it with pride and responsibly.
‘Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, we believe that it is right to remove all links that Prince Andrew still has with our great city.
‘I was pleased to see councillors of all parties support this motion and make it clear that it is no longer appropriate for Prince Andrew to represent York and its residents.
‘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 now 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.’
It follows a slew of authorities, institutions, schools and even golf clubs, which have all sought to distance themselves from the disgraced duke since he settled his civil case with Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking victim Virginia Roberts.
In the wake of the case, which was settled in February, the 62-year-old was also stripped of his military roles and royal patronages and was told he would no longer be known as ‘His Royal Highness’.
Both Buckingham Palace and a spokesperson for the Duke of York declined to comment.