A version of this story appeared in the January 14 edition of CNN’s Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on Britain’s royal family. Sign up here.

London CNN  — 

It’s difficult to imagine a worse start to 2022 for Prince Andrew.

The Queen’s second son has been stripped of his cherished royal titles and will be the only one of his siblings no longer referred to as His (or Her) Royal Highness, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday. The extraordinary statement came a day after a federal judge rejected a bid to have a civil suit against him in New York thrown out. Judge Lewis Kaplan effectively said Andrew does have a case to answer after being accused of sexual assault.

Now he’s facing the prospect of a very public trial later this year on allegations brought by Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was sexually trafficked to the royal by convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, when she was underage. Andrew has previously denied all allegations and has said that he does not recall ever meeting the then-17-year-old, nor does he remember ever having the picture taken with her that has been featured repeatedly in media around the world.

A royal source told us that all Andrew’s titles – his military affiliations and other royal patronages – were returned to his mother effective immediately and will be redistributed to other members of the family.

We’ve been told the decision involved many of the Windsors, but the Queen will have had the final say, in close consultation with her direct heirs – Princes Charles and William.

To be clear: Andrew retains his own Duke of York title and he is still a member of the royal family, but, like the Sussexes, he will no longer represent the Queen in an official capacity.

The loss of the military titles in particular will be extremely painful for the prince, who, as a veteran of the Falklands War, took that part of the job most seriously.

In a press release on Thursday, announcing the Queen’s decision, it was made clear that Andrew will no longer have any royal public duties and will be defending himself as a private citizen in the allegations made by Giuffre.

The Duke of York does still have legal options he can pursue in the sexual assault lawsuit, but each comes with a degree of risk and no guarantee he’ll be able to mend his stained reputation. In a nutshell, the prince can opt to appeal the judge’s ruling, fight by going to trial, default or settle.

Several legal experts we’ve spoken to in the past 48 hours have suggested an out-of-court settlement may be the best approach. But Giuffre’s lawyer, David Boies, has indicated his client may prefer to have her day in court.

“I think it’s very important to Virginia Giuffre that this matter be resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims. I don’t think she has a firm view as to exactly what a solution should be,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “But I think what’s going to be important is that this resolution vindicates her and vindicates the claim she has made.”

A source close to Prince Andrew told CNN Thursday that he will “continue to defend himself” against the sexual abuse lawsuit.

“Given the robustness with which Judge Kaplan greeted our arguments, we are unsurprised by the ruling. However, it was not a judgement on the merits of Ms Giuffre’s allegations,” the source said.

“This is a marathon not a sprint and the Duke will continue to defend himself against these claims,” the source added.