Prince Andrew relinquishes honorary life membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews

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Prince Andrew tees off at the 18th hole at St Andrews in Scotland at a pro-am in 1994 - Steve Munday/Getty
Prince Andrew tees off at the 18th hole at St Andrews in Scotland at a pro-am in 1994 - Steve Munday/Getty

Prince Andrew has relinquished his honorary life membership of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in the wake of his sexual assault lawsuit in the US.

The R&A has been under pressure concerning Prince Andrew’s patronage ever since the scandal emerged of his friendship with the late convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the civil lawsuit launched by Virginia Guiffre.

She claims she was sex-trafficked by Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell for the duke when she was 17 in 2001.

Prince Andrew denies the allegation and has requested trial by jury.

Earlier this month the Queen stripped of her son of his military and other royal patronages, although his links with golf - his favourite sport - remained.

But on Friday, a spokesman for the R&A revealed that Prince Andrew, a past captain of the most famous golf club in the world, has stood down.

"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," the statement said.

"We respect and appreciate his decision."

Prince Andrew has been the patron at 24 golf clubs, societies and associations.

Some clubs had already severed ties with the Duke, while other clubs decided to remove pictures of him from their clubhouses.

But the Royal and Ancient was his most prestigious position.

He served as captain of the club in 2004, the sixth royal take on the prominent role. His grandfather, King George VI, was captain in 1930.

"It is an enormous privilege, an honour and a dream come true for me to be invited to become the Captain of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, especially in this, its 250th anniversary year," Prince Andrew said at the time

Prince Andrew became the first royal to serve on one of the R&A's committees overseeing the game throughout the world, except for US and Mexico.

He was a member of the club’s Amateur Status Committee from 2000 to 2003.

He was often seen at the Open Championship, the British major run by the R&A, in his club tie and three years ago caused controversy, when spending more than £15,000 on a private jet to attend the 2019 tournament at Royal Portrush.

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