Prince Andrew has accepted he has been served papers in the lawsuit brought by a woman who alleges she was forced to have sex with him at the London home of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew and his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, jointly agreed that service was effective as of 21 September, according to a filing with the US district court in Manhattan. The prince has until 29 October to respond to the lawsuit.
Giuffre was 17 at the time of the alleged sexual assault. Andrew has “absolutely and categorically” denied the allegation.
Disgraced financier Epstein, 66, was found dead in his cell at a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide. His former girlfriend, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, remains in US custody on sex trafficking and other charges. She has pleaded not guilty.
Epstein counted a number of influential men among his friends and acquaintances, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton among them. Andrew’s friendship with Epstein has proved disastrous for his public standing and role within the royal family.
The issue of whether Andrew had been properly notified about the civil lawsuit filed by Giuffre was contested earlier this month in New York, in a first pre-trial hearing.