Watch CBS News

Calls mount for Prince Andrew to lose his Duke of York title over Virginia Giuffre sexual abuse allegations

Calls in York for Prince Andrew to lose title
Andrew is the Duke of York but York residents want honor removed in light of his associations 04:32

York, England — The city of York, in northern England, is steeped in more than 2,000 years of history. When CBS News senior foreign correspondent Holly Williams visited recently, a thick fog hung over its medieval streets. The weather was as murky as the scandal now shrouding Prince Andrew — also known as the Duke of York.

Many within the ancient city's Roman walls think it's time for York to cut its ties with Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son.

"I don't think he should be the Duke of York anymore," one woman told Williams on the street. "We don't have that affinity that we used to have anymore."

The Dukedom of York is traditionally held by the British monarch's second son. It was conferred on Prince Andrew by his mother when he was married in 1986. Now, however, with his reputation sullied, there's a social media campaign calling for him to be stripped of his royal title.

"If these allegations are true, he should pay the price" and lose his title, resident Alan Johnson told CBS News. "I feel most people from York feel the same."

Prince Andrew loses royal and military titles as lawsuit moves forward 05:29

The English are famously reserved, and the queen herself remains overwhelmingly popular across the country, but Prince Andrew has some people boiling over with anger.

"He's got daughters of his own, which makes it even worse," Marie Myers told Williams. She said that, along with "all the English people," she was simply "disgusted."

Of all the people CBS News spoke to in York, only one person sounded somewhat sympathetic to the prince.
"He's not squeaky clean, for sure, but you have to have some proof," the woman told Williams. "She's probably a fortune hunter, in my opinion. But you know, there's no smoke without a fire."

The "she" the woman was referring to is Virginia Giuffre, who claims that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her to Prince Andrew and is suing the prince in a New York court, alleging he sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions when she was a teenager.

Britain's Prince Andrew is seen in a file photo with Virginia Giuffre (center) and Ghislaine Maxwell. Rex Features

Andrew denies the allegations. He has not been charged with any crime, and says he has no recollection of ever meeting Giuffre — despite a photo showing them together, with convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

In an interview with the BBC, Andrew claimed the photograph might have been doctored.

"That is what I would describe as me in that… in that picture, but I can't… we can't be certain as to whether or not that's my hand on her, whatever it is… left side… Because I have no recollection of that photograph ever being taken."

"How can you not remember?" chided resident Cathy Bury on a street in York. "The photograph's there, the evidence is there, everybody's seeing that."

The queen stripped Prince Andrew of all his honorary military titles last week, and he's no longer allowed to call himself "His Royal Highness."

Prince Andrew loses military titles and royal duties 02:06

But for many, especially in York, that's not enough.

"For the monarchy to survive this, she has got to remove his official titles, or else I can see the monarchy itself being under serious question," Rachael Maskell, who represents York in the British Parliament, told Williams.

She said that if the prince loses his court case and refuses to give up his dukedom, the government needs to act.

"This isn't about the court case itself," the lawmaker told CBS News, "but the insight into his associations. Ghislaine Maxwell… Jeffrey Epstein, and we know his history, it's all come out."

Maskell said that Andrew's royal title "drags us into that story, and as a proud city, we don't want to go there."

His legal battle in the U.S. is far from over, but already the verdict on the Duke of York in the ancient city that shares his name, isn't favorable.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.