“William, in fact, was very involved in this decision, and it’s been said that he met with the queen in person ahead of their announcement that came out last week,” royal expert Kristin Contino exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 18. “I think that really shows — and I think that’s interesting — his growing influence and how she trusts his judgment and is looking for his advice. And I think that’s a great sign of things to come for William and how much she is relying on talking to him and his counsel.”
William, 39, is second in line to the British throne behind his father, Prince Charles, who was also integral in the move.
“Charles, of course, was involved in that decision too,” the A House Full of Windsor author added. “But I think [what] a lot of people thought was interesting is William’s heavy involvement in that. So I think she really is leaning on her two heirs at this time [to] help make those sort of big family decisions.”
Buckingham Palace announced on January 13 that Andrew, 61, had been stripped of his titles after news broke that he could face trial in a sexual assault lawsuit.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” the palace said in a statement at the time. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
One day earlier, the Associated Press reported that a judge dismissed Andrew’s request to throw out a lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, who claimed that the late Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell forced her to have sex with the royal when she was 17. (Andrew denied the allegations in a November 2019 interview, telling the BBC that he had “no recollection of ever meeting this lady.”)
The prince’s legal team alleged that the suit should be dismissed because of a settlement Giuffre, now 38, reached with Epstein in 2009. However, a judge ruled that the case will move forward.
Andrew previously announced in November 2019 that he would step back from his royal duties “for the foreseeable future” after his past with Epstein came to light.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” the Duke of York said in a statement at the time. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi