Will the royals try to bring Prince Andrew back into public life?

Prince Andrew at last month's memorial service for Prince Philip.
A version of this story appeared in the April 29 edition of CNN's Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on Britain's royal family. Sign up here.

London (CNN)The sexual assault lawsuit against Prince Andrew has been settled, but he's still very much on trial in the court of public opinion -- and much of Britain has already reached its verdict.

The latest damning judgment against the Queen's second son was handed down by councillors in the northern English city of York, who voted unanimously to strip the prince of his Freedom of the City on Wednesday.
This honor was bestowed upon him in 1987, and its removal sends a strong message: Andrew, the Duke of York, is unwanted in the place from which he takes his royal title.
    The move was backed by parties across the political spectrum. The largest group on the council, the Liberal Democrats, said in a statement: "We have made it clear that it is not appropriate for Prince Andrew to represent York and its residents. The removal of this title sends the right message that we as a city stand with victims of abuse."
      Prince Andrew hasn't been found guilty of any crime; he avoided a full trial by settling out of court with his accuser, Virginia Guiffre, who alleged Andrew sexually abused her at properties owned by wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
      Despite the conclusion to the civil case, Andrew's lengthy association with Epstein has wrecked his reputation as a senior royal.
      York councillor Darryl Smalley said the next logical step "would be for Prince Andrew to do the right thing and relinquish his title of Duke of York."
        That title was a wedding gift from the Queen, and it would require a vote in Britain's Parliament to have it revoked. Nobody has tabled such a motion -- yet. But if they do, and it passes, Elizabeth would need to sign it into law in her role as head of state. That would be the ultimate indignity for the prince, who's already had to agree to stop using the title "His Royal Highness" after being stripped of his royal duties and patronages by his mother.
        Andrew walked the Queen down the aisle at his father's memorial service.
        It may not get to that point. The member of Parliament for York Central, Rachael Maskell, has suggested Andrew could voluntarily relinquish his title.
        There is no suggestion from Prince Andrew that he plans to do that. If he did, his last remaining title would be "Prince," which is a birthright for any son of the monarch. Again, an Act of Parliament would be required to take it away.
        Andrew was stripped of his military titles and charity patronages in February. A royal source told CNN at the time that he would no longer use the style "His Royal Highness" in any official capacity, adding that the decision was "widely discussed" among the royal family.
        Neither Buckingham Palace nor Andrew's personal spokesperson had any comment to make on the council vote in York, but the fact the prince keeps grabbing headlines ahead of the Queen's platinum jubilee celebrations in June will be frustrating for those involved in the build-up.
        And it remains to be seen whether the royal family are inclined to cede to pressure against Andrew, or take the opposite path by attempting to gradually reintroduce him to public life.
        While he no longer has an official role, he is still part of the family. That's why we saw Andrew at Prince Philip's memorial service, which was televised but was primarily a family event. Eyebrows were raised when Andrew emerged, walking his mother down the aisle to her seat -- a reminder that public anger won't dictate every decision the palace makes.
        The family will now be considering whether or how to integrate Andrew into the jubilee events. The current thinking is that he won't be involved in the more formal and official proceedings, but we may see him when the family makes its traditional appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

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