Andrew gives up membership at prestigious home of golf

The Duke of York is preparing to defend himself against a civil lawsuit which will be heard at a jury trial at the end of the year.

The Duke of York playing golf
The Duke of York playing golf

The Duke of York has given up his honorary membership at the prestigious home of golf as the fallout from his civil sex case continues.

Andrew will no longer walk the fairways at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews in Fife, the club has confirmed.

Giving up his membership will be a humiliation for the duke who is a passionate golf fan, meeting many of the top names in the sport over the years.

Duke of York playing golf
The Duke of York hits a putt on the first green at the Royal and Ancient Golf club in St Andrews (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The development comes after Andrew demanded a trial by jury in the civil sexual assault case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre.

Legal experts had predicted Andrew would seek a settlement after the Queen stripped him of his military roles and patronages, widely seen as the monarchy distancing itself from any potentially damaging developments.

But Andrew has taken the dramatic decision to face his accuser in court and become the first member of the modern royal family to submit to being cross-examined over serious allegations.

A spokesperson for the golf club said: “I can confirm that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has received notification that the Duke of York will relinquish his Honorary Membership. We respect and appreciate his decision.”

Undated handout screengrab issued by Crime+Investigation of Virginia Giuffre
Virginia Giuffre has launched a civil lawsuit against Andrew (Crime+Investigation/PA)

Commenting on the development, a source close to the duke said: “This is in line with the recent announcement from Buckingham Palace.”

Andrew had been a member of the club since 1992 and was the first royal to serve on one of its committees – the amateur status committee from 1999 to 2003.

He followed in the footsteps of his grandfather King George VI when he became the club’s royal captain from 2003-04 – the sixth member of the monarchy to hold the post and something he described at the time as a “dream come true for me”.

The duke followed tradition and drove into office – where the new captain hits a single shot from the first tee of the Old Course – in September 2003, and was captain during the club’s 250th anniversary year in 2004.

Duke of York NSPCC Golf
Andrew playing at Wentworth in the NSPCC Duke of York Pro-Am with Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia (Chris Ison/PA)

It is understood a painting by Anthony Oakshett commissioned by the club to mark its anniversary, and showing Andrew making his tee shot alongside many other individuals, will remain in place at the club.

Ms Giuffre is suing the duke for damages, claiming she was trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew’s friend and a convicted sex offender, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law.

The duke is also alleged to have sexually abused Ms Giuffre during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, and on a separate occasion at the financier’s Manhattan mansion.

Andrew has strenuously denied all allegations.

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