PRINCE Andrew has been stripped of the freedom of the City of York after a vote by councillors.

At an extraordinary full council meeting at York Racecourse tonight (Wednesday, April 27), there was a unanimous vote to remove his Honorary Freedom of the City of York status, which was granted as a wedding gift by councillors in February 1987.

Prince Andrew agreed to settle the civil sex assault claim against him in the US earlier this year.

Cllr Darryl Smalley, City of York Council’s executive member for culture, leisure and communities, said: “We have previously debated at length our commitment as a council and a city to stand with victims of sexual abuse and work to end violence against women and girls. 

“As such, we believe it is inappropriate for Prince Andrew to retain his ambassadorial title that is so intrinsically linked to our great city.”

York Press: Cllr Darryl Smalley speaking at the meetingCllr Darryl Smalley speaking at the meeting

Cllr Smalley called on the Prince to “do the right thing” and relinquish his Duke of York title.

He added: “If he fails to do so, Buckingham Palace and the government must step in to remove his title to finally end Prince Andrew’s connection to York.”

Labour’s Cllr Aisling Musson said: “I feel we also need to remove the title because we owe it to the people of York, particularly those who have been affected by sexual violence, abuse and human trafficking.”

Independent Cllr Mark Warters said he supported the “purely symbolic act”.

He added: “It must be stated though that Prince Andrew has not been convicted of any offence in a criminal or civil court.”

He went on to try to link the case with the controversial exit of the former chief executive of the council, Mary Weastell, but was told to stay on the subject by the Lord Mayor.

Conservative Cllr Martin Rowley backed the motion, but called on the council to create an awards sub-committee so future awards of the freedom of the city could be properly scrutinised.

Independent Cllr Dave Taylor said if Prince Andrew was eventually stripped of his Duke title, he would prefer Princess Beatrice to become Duchess of York.

“In contrast to her father, she is personable, intelligent and does her homework,” he said.

The Green Party’s Cllr Denise Craghill said: “It’s entirely inappropriate that the Duke should retain the freedom of our city.”

Virginia Giuffre, also known as Virginia Roberts, made a claim against Prince Andrew for damages in her home country of the US, claiming she was trafficked by Jeffery Epstein, Andrew’s friend, to have sex with the royal when she was 17, a minor under US law.

Prince Andrew consistently denied the claims made against him.

The honorary freedom is bestowed by the city to recognise notable service by local residents, distinguished people and royalty.

Previous recipients include the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill, John Barry and Judi Dench.

The Prince was contacted by council officers in advance of the meeting to inform him of councillors’ plans.

Both Buckingham Palace and a spokesperson for the Duke of York declined to comment today.