Prince Andrew officially served with legal papers notifying him of sexual abuse lawsuit, Sky News understands

21 September 2021, 20:38 | Updated: 21 September 2021, 23:28

Prince Andrew has three weeks to respond after legal papers were served to his US lawyers notifying him of a civil sexual assault case against him, Sky News understands.

The summons and complaint papers were sent by email and FedEx by legal representatives for his accuser Virginia Giuffre, who is seeking damages after alleging Andrew sexually assaulted her.

The ninth-in-line to the throne and his lawyers have strongly denied Ms Giuffre's claims.

A FedEx notification shows the documents were delivered to Andrew B Brettler, at Lavely & Singer, in Los Angeles on Monday.

If the Duke of York does not respond within 21 days he could face a default judgment under federal rules.

The 61-year-old had been accused by Ms Giuffre's lawyers of "actively evading" formal efforts to serve him the papers.

District judge Lewis Kaplan likened the situation to a "game of hide and seek behind palace walls".

In response, the High Court in the UK accepted a request by Ms Giuffre's legal team to formally contact the prince about the case launched against him in the US.

However, following Tuesday's development, it is understood that the High Court challenge lodged by the duke's team is now null and void.

Ms Giuffre, 38, has accused the royal of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress over alleged misconduct from 20 years ago.

The abuse, she claims, happened at the same time paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was sexually abusing her.

Ms Giuffre claims she was sexually abused by the duke when she was underage at the home of Epstein's ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, in London and when he visited Epstein's homes in New York and on a private Caribbean island.

Court documents state that Ms Giuffre believes Prince Andrew knew that she was 17 and a sex trafficking victim.

The duke has denied all allegations and insisted he has no recollection of even meeting her, despite a photograph showing the pair together.