The civil case against Prince Andrew by a woman who claims he sexually abused her when she was a minor can't go forward until a US judge determines that legal papers have been served upon the prince. Now, it looks like that initial step may have been taken. The BBC reports that lawyers for Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was made to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, say papers in the case were delivered on Aug. 27 to the Royal Lodge in Windsor, where the prince resides. Per US court documents seen by the Guardian, an affidavit was accepted by a Metropolitan Police officer on that date at around 9:30am, at the home's front gates.
The prince was said not to have been on the premises, instead hunkering down at the royal family's Balmoral estate in Scotland. It's not clear if his lawyers have officially received and accepted the papers, with legal documents indicating that the process server first showed up at the Royal Lodge on Aug. 26, where the security team told him they'd been informed "not to accept service of any court process." When the server returned the next day, he was reportedly told he could leave the papers with police at the front gate and they'd get them to Andrew's legal team.
Giuffre's camp, meanwhile, says that Royal Lodge's security accepting the papers means the papers were indeed served, with that method being "consistent with the provisions for service upon an individual defendant ... as required by the Supreme Court of Judicature in England & Wales," note legal documents filed in the Southern District of New York on Friday, per CNN. Per the court documents, Andrew is required to issue a response by Friday.
Meanwhile, a video meeting regarding the case is set to take place Monday in a New York court. A spokesperson for the PR agency representing Andrew, who has denied Giuffre's claims that he sexually abused her at the London residence of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell, told the Guardian, "No comment." (Read more Prince Andrew stories.)