Heads continue to roll in connection with a series of sexual misconduct allegations levelled at senior Canadian Armed Forces members.
Although the military’s “zero tolerance” policy appears to be catching up with some of the country’s highest-ranking officers, it has yet to affect Prince Andrew, who remains Colonel-in-Chief of three Canadian army reserve regiments despite public allegations he had sex with an underage girl trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein.
“The position of His Royal Highness, Duke of York, continues to hold the honorary title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess Louise Fusiliers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada and the Queen’s York Rangers,” the Department of National Defence’s media liaison office told the Sidebar by email.
The Queen’s second son has come under renewed scrutiny in the U.K. following a report by Channel 4 News about alleged trafficking of British women and girls by Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
“Serious questions have been raised about why the (Metropolitan Police) failed to carry out a full criminal investigation, including whether Prince Andrew’s involvement with Maxwell and Epstein had any bearing on their decision not to fully investigate,” Channel 4’s news investigation team said. “Prince Andrew denies any wrongdoing.”
Royal appointments are common in the CAF and throughout the Commonwealth. The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, and other family members hold numerous honorary appointments in the Canadian Army.
While such appointments are generally a source of prestige and pride within military units, that’s not necessarily the case where Prince Andrew is concerned.
According to the Times, the prince became an “embarrassment” and “source of derision” to troops in the U.K. following his 2019 fall from grace.
In Canada, royal family members, like other honorary appointees, are intended to be “the guardian of Regimental traditions and history, promoting the regiment’s identity and ethos and being an advisor to the Commanding Officer on virtually all issues excluding operations.”
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan did not respond to questions from the Sidebar about Prince Andrew’s suitability for the role of Colonel-in-Chief in the CAF.
But DND’s media office said the prince’s direct involvement with his Canadian regiments has been limited in the past and may be non-existent in the future.
“Given he has decided to recuse himself from public duties, we do not expect him to participate in any honorary functions with the Canadian Army,” it said. “Participation by Royals in their honorary functions is typically infrequent. For instance, Prince Andrew last visited The Princess Louise Fusiliers in May 2019, with previous visits in 2007 and 2009. Furthermore, it should be noted that there are no planned activities involving the Duke of York at this time.”
Prince Andrew has largely become persona non grata in Canada since his “disastrous” November 2019 television interview about his connections to Epstein and Maxwell, and the accusations levelled at him by Virginia Giuffre.
Individual Canadians immediately called for his CAF appointments to be removed.
A question period briefing note prepared for Sajjan in December 2019 stated, “The Minister of National Defence has received letters from members of the public requesting that the Duke of York be stripped of his honorary title of Colonel-in-Chief.”
Likewise, groups and organizations that once boasted about their royal ties quickly disassociated themselves from Prince Andrew.
The Canadian Canoe Museum dropped him as royal patron and honorary chair. Lakefield College School, which the prince attended for six months in 1977, cut ties with him. So too did the Sick Kids Foundation.
A process was launched last year to determine if Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, should be renamed.
Yet despite nearly all of his connections to Canadian organizations being cut, Prince Andrew’s status in the CAF does not appear to be in jeopardy. That’s because royal military appointments are the exclusive purview of the Queen.
“The authority for the appointment or removal of a Royal filling an honorary appointment rests solely with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II,” DND told the Sidebar.