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Prince Andrew, 61, has denied the allegations of sexual assault.JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Prince Andrew has given up his military affiliations, including several in Canada, and will no longer use the title “His Royal Highness” as he battles a lawsuit over allegations of sexual assault.

Buckingham Palace announced the changes in a short statement on Thursday. “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.”

The Duke will also stop using the HRH title in any official capacity, British media reported.

The palace’s announcement came a day after a judge in New York rejected a bid by Andrew’s lawyers to dismiss a case against him filed by Virginia Giuffre. She was among more than two dozen victims of sex trafficking by Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, who were both one-time friends of the Duke. In a civil suit, Ms. Giuffre has alleged that Andrew sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was under the age of 18.

Andrew, 61, has denied the allegations. In court filings his lawyers have argued that Ms. Giuffre, 38, was “complicit in Epstein’s unlawful activities” and that a settlement she signed with Mr. Epstein in 2009 prevented her from suing other defendants, including Prince Andrew. However, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Wednesday that the settlement was ambiguous and that the case should proceed to trial.

Andrew had already backed away from royal duties in November, 2019, shortly after Mr. Epstein died in a New York prison while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. (Ms. Maxwell was convicted on similar charges last month in New York.) At the time, the Duke gave an interview to the BBC that he hoped would clarify his relationship with Mr. Epstein. Instead, the interview only raised more questions about the Duke’s conduct.

Dozens of organizations around the world, including many in Canada, have cut their ties to the Duke over the last three years. However, up until Thursday, he had continued to hold a number of honorary titles and military ranks, including Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy. (Palace officials said on Thursday that this will be one of the few titles he keeps.)

The Duke has also been a colonel in eight British regiments and three in Canada: the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada, the Queen’s York Rangers and the Princess Louise Fusiliers.

Department of National Defence spokesperson Daniel Le Bouthillier confirmed that the Duke’s Canadian military affiliations will be given up.

On Thursday, before Buckingham Palace’s announcement, more than 150 British military veterans signed an open letter calling on the Queen to revoke the Duke’s titles. “All of us have served our country and are proud to have done so. For that reason, we are particularly upset and angry that Andrew remains a member of the armed forces and continues to hold military titles, positions and ranks,” read the letter.

After the palace’s announcement, the Duke’s website continued to list his patronage roles at dozens of charities, clubs and institutions around the world. However, several Canadian organizations included on the list told The Globe and Mail that they dropped him as a patron years ago.

For example, the website says Andrew is a trustee and honorary chairperson of Lakefield College School, a private school near Peterborough, Ont., which the Duke attended for six months in 1977. He is also listed on the website as a patron of The Friends of Lakefield College School, an alumni organization.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Lakefield said Andrew hasn’t held any roles since 2019. “The Duke of York’s term as honorary chair and trustee of the Lakefield College School Foundation ended in 2019,” said Christine Vogel, director of marketing and communications. “Furthermore, as the Duke stepped away from all public duties, he is no longer associated with Lakefield College School or The Friends of Lakefield College School.”

Similarly, the Duke’s website indicates that he is a patron of the Maple Bay Yacht Club and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, which are both on Vancouver Island, as well as Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.

Sandra Chiovitti, a spokesperson for the SickKids Foundation, said the Duke hasn’t had a role with the foundation since November, 2019. “We haven’t had any contact with him since then and are unsure why their website still hasn’t been updated to reflect this change for us or any other of his patronages,” she said Thursday.

John Green, the interim commodore of the Royal Victoria, confirmed that the club had removed Andrew as patron. “In November, 2019, Andrew withdrew from his public duties as the Queen’s representative with her permission,” he said in an e-mail “We respect and value our long-time Royal association. We support the Queen’s role as monarch and await further updates.”

In a statement, the Maple Bay club said: “Prince Andrew is not a patron of the Maple Bay Yacht Club and hasn’t been for some time.”

On Thursday, Andrew’s website said he was a patron of the the Royal Alberta United Services Institute, a Calgary-based think tank that specializes in security and defence. In a statement Friday the institute said it dropped Andrew as a patron last October and that it has “formally terminated all associations with The Duke of York.” Andrew’s website was updated Friday to show that he is a lifetime member of the RAUSI.

According to the Duke’s website, he is also a patron of the Robert T. Jones, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, based in Oakville, Ont. No one from that foundation could be reached for comment.

With a report from Michelle Carbert in Ottawa

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