- London’s High Court said it would take steps if necessary to
serve papers on Britain’s Prince Andrew in a U.S. lawsuit.
- The Duke of York is accused by Virginia Giuffre of
assaulting her when she was 17.
- The queen’s second son has rejected the accusations, and his
lawyers have described the case as baseless.
London’s High Court said on Wednesday it would take steps if
necessary to serve papers on Britain’s Prince Andrew in a U.S. lawsuit brought
by a woman who accuses him of sexually assaulting her two decades ago.
The prince, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, is accused by
Virginia Giuffre of assaulting her when she was 17, at a time she says she was
being abused by the financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew, 61, who is officially known as the Duke of York, has
rejected the accusations, and his lawyers have described the case as baseless.
His legal team declined comment.
Last week, Giuffre’s legal team said it had tried to serve
papers on Andrew by leaving the documents with a police officer at his home in
southern England. The prince’s lawyers told the U.S. District Court in
Manhattan they had not been properly served under English law and the Hague
A spokesperson for London’s High Court said the issue about
how claims could be served on parties in different jurisdictions was governed
by the Hague Service Convention, which requires requests to be made and
approved by the relevant authority in each country.
“The lawyers acting for Ms Giuffre have now provided
further information to the High Court, and the High Court has accepted the
request for service under the Hague Service Convention,” the spokesperson
said in a statement.
“The legal process has not yet been served, but the
High Court will now take steps to serve under the Convention unless service is
arranged by agreement between the parties.”
At a hearing on Monday in Manhattan, the prince’s lawyer,
Andrew Brettler, said Giuffre appeared to have in 2009 signed away her right to
the prince in resolving a separate lawsuit.
“This is a baseless, nonviable, potentially unlawful
lawsuit,” Brettler said. “There has been a settlement agreement that
the plaintiff has entered into in a prior action that releases the Duke and
others from any and all potential liability.”
Andrew is a former friend of Epstein, a registered sex
offender who killed himself in a Manhattan jail in August 2019 after U.S.
prosecutors charged him with sexually exploiting dozens of girls and women.
The prince stepped down from royal duties, and charities and
other organisations distanced themselves from him after a BBC interview in November
2019 about his relationship with Epstein.
He denies having sex or any relationship with Giuffre. Her
lawsuit, filed last month, says he forced her to have unwanted sexual
intercourse at the London home of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein’s
It also said Andrew abused Giuffre at Epstein’s mansion on
Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and on a private island, Epstein owned in the U.S.
Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she aided
Epstein’s sexual abuses. She faces a scheduled 29 November trial before U.S.
District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan. The next conference for Giuffre’s
lawsuit is scheduled for 13 October.