Racecourse could rename historic event over Duke of York scandal

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·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·3 min read
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The Duke of York Prince Andrew presents a trophy to winners
Prince Andrew presents a prize at York Racecourse in 2015 (PA)

York Racecourse bosses are considering renaming the historic Duke of York Stakes to avoid links with Prince Andrew, it has been reported.

The annual race is held on the opening day of the Dante Festival, and was originally created in 1895 in honour of Prince George, Duke of York, who went on to become King George V.

Andrew, 61, is facing a civil trial in the US over the sex assault allegations from Virginia Giuffre.

Giuffre claims she was trafficked to have sex with the Queen’s second son when she was 17 and a minor under US law.

Andrew has denied all allegations against him.

James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship at York Racecourse, told the Yorkshire Post that the Duke of York Stakes has never been directly about Andrew.

“It was named in honour of Prince George who went on to become King George V. It has never been directly about Prince Andrew," he said.

Read more: Prince Andrew loses military titles and use of HRH status after 'face to face' meeting with Queen

Watch: Calls for Prince Andrew to lose dukedom and police protection as Charles refuses to comment

Brennan added that York was aware of negative connections with Andrew, and said they will take "an an appropriate step" in dealing with it.

However he admitted the ability to change the name does not lie with York Racecourse, as any change will have to be agreed by the European Pattern Committee.

“With that in mind, however, we are going to explore how we can make the name a lot clearer about its history – and that the name refers to an entirely different Duke of York.”

Andrew was patron of York Racecourse until 2019, when he stepped back from public life in the wake of his association with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Maxwell, 60, was found guilty of sex trafficking offences on December 29 last year and now faces up to 65 years in prison. She will be sentenced in June.

Since a judge ruled on Wednesday the case could go ahead, Andrew has been stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by the Queen.

According to ITV News, the 95-year-old Queen told Andrew in person on Thursday he would be stripped of his titles.

Starman ridden by Oisin Murphy on their way to winning the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes during day one of the Dante Festival at York Racecourse. Picture date: Wednesday May 12, 2021.
The Duke of York Stakes has been a race held at the Dante Festival since 1895 (PA)

It was also agreed that he will not use the style “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity, representing the duke’s complete removal from official royal life permanently.

A royal source said the issue had been widely discussed with the royal family, making it likely that the Prince of Wales, as well as Andrew, was involved in crisis talks over the matter.

The source said the military posts would be redistributed to other members of the royal family, meaning Andrew's removal from public life is a permanent one.

Watch: Queen strips Andrew of honorary military roles and royal patronages

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