ON Wednesday, New York judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the civil action raised by Virginia Giuffre, alleging that she was sexually abused by Prince Andrew, can go ahead. He has strongly denied all the allegations against him.

At long last the Queen has removed Andrew’s honorary military titles and the use of “His Royal Highness”, and he will apparently will now live as a private citizen, or at least a private duke! This is a start – but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. He should have all his titles and honours removed as well.

The Queen has long had a blind spot over Prince Andrew, who royal servants have long referred to as the "favourite son". The reasons for this misplaced maternal adoration probably stem from the fact that by the time he was born in 1960, the Queen had settled into the royal routine and was much older than she had been when Charles and Anne was born with whom she has a more distant relationship. In short, Andrew was spoiled by the Queen.

The National:

Despite his complete lack of any significant achievements, the Queen has showered honours upon Andrew and he has revelled in these as no more than his entitlement for winning the genetic lottery. In 1986, on his marriage to Fergie, Andrew was made Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh, in accordance with the royal custom of naming the highest royal title after an English location and the lesser titles after places in Scotland and Northern Ireland – a perfect image of the unequal union of the United Kingdom!

Later on, the doting, monarch mum made Andrew a Knight of the Garter in 2006 and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2011. This latter gong is especially notable because it was made after Andrew’s friendship with Jeffery Epstein had become public. Epstein was convicted of sex offences in Florida in 2008, but this had seemingly not weakened their friendship, nor struck the Queen as a good reason to withhold yet another gong from her favourite son.

Given the current public petition standing at a million signatures to remove Blair’s Garter, one wonders how long it will be before an equally popular petition is launched to remove Andrew’s royal orders? The Queen should remove all his gongs and titles at once. He should become Mr Andrew Windsor. The Garter is especially inappropriate as it is both the highest honour in the Queen’s gift and its motto is “Honi soit qui mal y pense” meaning “Shame on him who thinks evil of it" – this is practically a taunt to the public.

The National:

Andrew’s entire life is an argument against the hereditary principle. His Royal Highness has enjoyed a life of idleness and ease and has done nothing of value since his brief stint as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the 1982 Falklands War. By all accounts he performed his duties bravely, but no more bravely than the thousands of other British service personnel. In 2001, Andy retired from the navy “sailing a desk” at the Ministry of Defence to become a so-called “full-time royal”.

In the 2000s, he was made Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. This was a made-up job that allowed Andrew the opportunity to travel the world mixing with the rich and powerful and live in the best hotels at British taxpayers’ expense, but such is his boorishness that he was not a success in the role and eventually he was removed from it.

The low esteem in which Andrew is held even by Tory insiders was revealed by Sasha Swire, in her entertaining “Diary of an MP’s Wife”, described Andrew’s behaviour at an official diner on June 22, 2011, for Norther Irish business people in Hillsborough Castle: “Andrew chairing the discussion round the table is excruciating to watch: a mixture of blokeyness and royal arrogance. I sit there trying to listen to how brilliant he is and what a good job he is doing as a trade envoy when all I am seeing is him in swimming shorts, attending topless pool parties at Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion, while on his own personal trade mission to get money for his ex wife.”

The friendship between Andy and Epstein mocked by Swire had begun more than 10 years earlier. The deal seems to have been cash and luxury in return for royal prestige. Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were guests at various royal parties and seem even to have visited Balmoral. It is that relationship which seems to have resulted in Andrew meeting Virginia Giuffre as evidenced by the infamous photo of him with his arm around her.

The National:

There are many similar stories told about Prince Andrew to the one by Swire, but few are favourable to him. Arrogance, entitlement and stupidity seem to be his dominant characteristics. To know him is to dislike him apparently – and even the devoted courtiers of Buckingham Palace find him difficult. However, there is one occupant of the Palace that adores Andrew: his mother. And it is her approval and protection that has allowed Andrew to act with impunity over the years. Apparently he charms the Queen and she cannot see past him, to the not-so-secret disapproval of big brother Charles.

The Queen also subsidises the Duke’s extravagant lifestyle in ways that are deliberately opaque. Indeed, David McLure, who wrote a book about the royal financial arrangements – Royal Legacy: How The Royal Family Have Made, Spent And Passed On Their Wealth” – once told the Daily Mail that “Prince Andrew’s finances are shrouded in a fog of pea-soup impenetrability”.

One mysterious payment was made in 2007 by Timor Kulibayev, son-in-law of the then president of Kazakhstan, who paid £15 million – £3 million more than the asking price – for Andrew’s abandoned home Sunningdale, which he then demolished! The question is why did he buy it?

Now that the civil action raised by Ms Giuffre is going ahead, Andrew has a choice between trying to pay off Ms Giuffre or to defend the case. Either way will be expensive. According to last Friday’s Daily Telegraph, the prince may attempt to buy off the action by offering $5 million in return for silence. If he defended the case, his legal fees will run into millions.

The National:

This raises the issue of money. All or part of Andrew’s legal fees or pay-off will be provided by the Queen directly or indirectly. If this is true, it is an outrage, but would be consistent with the Queen’s consistent overindulgence of her spoilt second son. The Queen is supposed to be the living embodiment of traditional values of duty, faith and moral rectitude. Surely even the most devoted royalists will be outraged at the sight of the Queen using millions of pounds of what are ultimately public funds to bail out Andrew from the consequences of his alleged actions and allowing him to retain his numerous ill-deserved titles and gongs?

It certainly raises questions about her judgment. If the Queen fails to remove his titles and continues to subsidise his lavish lifestyle and legal cost, then she will have weakened the foundations of the monarchy in a way that may eventually pave the way to its demise.

If Prince Andrew, rather than Prince Charles, was the heir to the British throne, then the chances of a British republic after the demise of the present Queen would have been greatly increased. Happily for the Windsor dynasty, the Duke is now only 9th in line to the throne, but that doesn’t mean that the former HRH is not already doing great damage to the “Windsor Brand” and is likely to do it even more harm in the near future.