Councillors in York came together on Wednesday to vote to strip Prince Andrew of his freedom of York title as the city seeks to distance itself from the disgraced monarch.
Councillors from Lib Dem, Labour, Tory, Green and independent parties met at York Racecourse for the vote, joined by disgruntled members of the public, deciding to strip the Duke of the honour in a 30-minute meeting.
There are growing calls for him to have his dukedom removed, too, as unrest about the city’s connection with the Prince grows following the settlement of Andrew’s sexual assault civil case with Virginia Giuffre in the States.
The freedom of York title was one of Andrew’s last remaining major titles, having already been stripped of honourary military roles and HRH-style.
Labour councillor Aisling Musson referred to his dukedom of York as “his stain of an association with this city”, as councillors agreed that the Queen or government should step in to remove the title if Prince Andrew did not do so himself.
Speaking after the meeting, Lib Dem Darryl Smalley, City of York Council’s executive member for culture, leisure & communities and proposer of the motion, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The Honorary Freedom of York is the highest honour we, as a city, can bestow on those who represent the very best of York. The honour is held by many notable and accomplished people who carry it with pride and responsibly
“Having been stripped of his military roles and royal patronages by the Queen, we believe that it is right to remove all links that Prince Andrew still has with our great city.
“I was pleased to see councillors of all parties support this motion and make it clear that it is no longer appropriate for Prince Andrew to represent York and its residents.
“The removal of this honorary title sends the right message that we as a city stand with victims of abuse.
“The next logical step is now for Prince Andrew to do the right thing and relinquish his Duke of York title.
“If he fails to do so, the Government and Buckingham Palace must step in to remove his title to finally end Prince Andrew’s connection to York.”
Speaking fro the public galley, Gwen Swinburn described the Prince as a “disgrace”.
“He brings shame and reputational damage everywhere he goes, including to our city.
“The motion to withdraw his status goes nowhere near far enough. He needs to be be declared persona non grata in York.
“You (councillors) need to be starting whatever process is needed to remove his duke title.”
All councillors, barring the Lord Mayor and Lord Mayor elect, voted in favour of the motion with the other two abstaining as is customary in their office.
Feature image – Commons Wikimedia