IT has now been eight years since Prince Andrew was accused of "sexual activity with a minor". One of many accusations linked to his long friendship with sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. An accusation he settled out of court, after spending the years in between refusing to cooperate with law enforcement.

It took the royal family five full years to respond, finally suspending him from public duties. Five years in which he enjoyed the pomp and ceremony of his status in the monarchy. Five years in which his accuser desperately attempted to seek justice. Five years in which the royal family stood by him even as his old friend, Jeffrey Epstein went behind bars and died in prison.

All the while, Andrew was clinging to honours and titles allowing him to claim to represent millions of people, while hiding on the royal estates, hiding from accountability, hiding from criminal charges.

Our royals claim to represent the people. People like those of Inverness, who, to this day, he represents as their Earl. Unelected, unaccountable, unrepentant.

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The “Removal of Titles Bill” was brought into Westminster by Rachael Maskell, MP for York (another city granted to Andrew as a Dukedom). It could finally strip this disgraced royal of his antiquated claims to our modern cities. But it has been languishing on the books for over six months and it’s not due to reach its second reading until March, that is, if it isn’t punted into the long grass even further.

This bill is all well and good, and we should be grateful to Rachael Maskell for taking up the challenge of bringing it. But it doesn’t solve the root of the problem. The problem is that the people of York, Inverness and Killyleagh never had a say in the first place.

Andrew has been Earl of Inverness since 1986. A present from his mother for his wedding day. A staggeringly entitled and brazen demonstration of how the monarchy treats its subjects like lesser beings, their homes and communities mere trinkets to be given away.

What connection does Andrew have to Inverness? Has he ever been a member of the community that lives there? What has he done to champion their needs and pride? What, in fact, is the purpose of the title of Earl at all, other than for its citizens to know that they are owned.

The National: Prince Andrew represents no one in InvernessPrince Andrew represents no one in Inverness

More than 11,000 people signed the petition to strip Andrew of the title Earl of Inverness. Thousands of people who call Inverness home. Those who grew up in and built communities that Andrew has barely deigned to visit, let alone be a part of.

In the three years since that petition launched the monarchy hasn’t felt the people of Inverness deserve the respect of a response. We don't expect they'll discover that respect even now it is clear the people of Inverness have rejected him.

It’s painfully obvious to even the most casual observer that Andrew doesn’t deserve the title of Earl. He deserves to face real justice.

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But that will never happen because our monarchy protects him by refusing to act and financing his settlements. They hide him from justice after awarding him cities, military ranks, honours, and patronages.

Cities like Inverness, whose consent for this appointment they considered to be beneath them. The whole institution is an obscene monument to entitlement and contempt for the people they claim to lead.

It is long past time we ended this charade of noble claims and titles. They have no purpose but to fluff the egos of a decaying aristocracy.

We should ditch them all, but let Andrew’s be the first to go.

Tristan Gray is the convenor of Our Republic, a group which campaigns for an independent Scotland without the monarchy.