THE Queen dramatically stripped Prince Andrew of all his royal and military titles yesterday after summoning him to Windsor Castle.
The disgraced Duke, 61, facing a possible sex-case trial in the US, looked ashen-faced as he was driven in to see his mother.
Insiders said the decision to reduce Andrew – often called her “favourite son” – to a “private citizen” was one of the hardest in Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne.
She had spoken earlier with senior royals, including Charles and William, who urged her to act fast.
The Queen stripped Andrew of his royal and military titles during a highly-emotional 90-minute.
The historic decision followed talks within the family about the growing problem of the “Andrew issue”.
At 11.30am she summoned her “favourite son” to Windsor Castle before effectively kicking him out of the Royal Family.
After bringing shame and embarrassment on the Queen, he must now stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity.
His titles will be given to other family members such as sister Anne.
A source close to Andrew said he will battle on in his civil case with Virginia Giuffre who claims she was sexually abused when aged 17.
The source insisted: “It’s a marathon not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims”.
Andrew is seeking an out-of-court settlement for Ms Giuffre after Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled he must stand trial in the US. It could be up to £10million — the amount he will get from selling his chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.
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In a bombshell statement at 5pm yesterday Buckingham 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.”
HOAR understands the Queen personally worded the statement and was determined not to allow any emotional sentiment into it.
It means he is stripped of 12 military titles which had been held in abeyance after he stepped down from duties in November 2019 after his car-crash BBC Newsnight interview.
The move came after 152 veterans signed an open letter urging the Queen to strip her middle son of “all his military ranks and titles” over his links to sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
The letter said: “Were this any other senior military officer it is inconceivable that he would still be in post.”
Andrew loses his honorary roles of Colonel of the Grenadier Guards and RAF air commodore with immediate effect.
He will no longer be entitled to wear their uniforms at Cenotaph memorials and the upcoming thanksgiving service for his late father Prince Philip. Andrew, a Navy helicopter pilot in the Falklands War, will still be allowed to wear his medals like other veterans.
SAS legend Rusty Firmin, who stormed the Iranian Embassy in 1980, said: “It was the right thing to do. He had to step back rather than tarnish the name of the regiments.”
Andrew was stripped of dozens of royal patronages for golf clubs, universities, yacht clubs, sports associations, medical institutions, charities and art establishments.
He retains his rank of Vice Admiral in the Navy handed to him in 2015 after retiring in 2001.
He is believed to have retained his Order of the Garter bestowed on him in June 2014.
As one of the Queen’s four children he stays as Counsellor of State — so he can step in for her if she is unable to perform her duties due to illness or absence abroad.
Charles, William, Edward and Anne had ruled last year there was no way back for Andrew.
William was understood to be at the castle on Wednesday.
Last night Andrew was hunkered down at his home, Royal Lodge, Windsor. Late on Wednesday, after the judge’s ruling, he had been in talks with lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic. Yesterday he spent three hours with his legal team from 8.30am before the Queen broke the news face-to-face.
His UK lawyer Gary Bloxsome accompanied him to the castle.
A source close to the Duke said: “Given the robustness with which the judge greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. But it was not a judgment on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations.”
Last night the Queen’s ex-press secretary Dickie Arbiter said: “I believe this is the end of Andrew. I don’t believe there is a way back.
“It was clear the Queen was waiting for the judge’s ruling. It is the right decision and an inevitable one. It would have been difficult for the Queen. She is a mother but also Head of State.”
Privy councillor Norman Baker said: “It is right that Andrew has returned his military titles. It had become an embarrassment all round, not least for the military.
“The fact the Palace is now describing him as a private citizen in respect of his court case tells us he has well and truly been chucked under the royal bus, yet the family cannot escape the immense damage that will increase as the case progresses.
“Can he even stay as Duke of York, or having been marched up that hill by the Queen, will he be marched down again?”
Andrew will be asked to make a witness statement in February where he could be questioned about his sex life and what he did with Ms Giuffre.
Sources close to the Duke insist his team are proceeding with disclosure but privately it is understood they are looking to propose a settlement.
Andrew vehemently denies all the claims against him.