The decision by the Queen is part of the fallout from the duke’s civil sexual assault case, with Prince Andrew being stripped of his Royal patronages. As a result, he has also lost his honorary titles at Royal Portrush, Royal Belfast and Royal County Down golf clubs in Northern Ireland.
A source close to the clubs said: “There will be immense relief by members that this decision has been taken out of their hands.” A spokesperson for Royal Portrush said he had no comment to make on the matter.
Back in 2019, The Open Championship returned to Royal Portrush for the first time in nearly 70 years, with Andrew seen attending the event. That week, he caused outrage as it was reported he spent £16,000 of taxpayers money on a private jet to watch The Open.
According to a palace source: "There were no other ways for Andrew to make the trip. He was undertaking a visit on behalf of his patronage. Arrangements in relation to the programme did not enable him to travel by scheduled flight." Ironically, on the day that the Duke took the chartered flight, there were 13 daily flights to Belfast to choose from.
Later that year, he would make a return to the links course, where he spent an afternoon playing a round. The Duke had been a long-time patron and opened its new clubhouse in 1999. However, following his civil sexual assault case, he will no longer be involved with the three clubs mentioned.
In a statement, the palace said: “With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Ms Giuffre is suing the Duke in the US for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 and a minor under US law. The Duke has strenuously denied the allegations.
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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