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Prince Andrew served with U.S. civil suit, lawyers say

Last Updated Sep 12, 2021 at 8:42 am PDT

FILE - In this Sunday, April 11, 2021 file photo, Britain's Prince Andrew speaks. during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor, England, Sunday, April 11, 2021. A U.S. court will hold a pretrial conference Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 in the civil suit filed by a woman who claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her as the two sides argue over whether the prince has been properly served with documents in the case. Attorneys for Virginia Giuffre say the documents were handed over to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park on Aug. 27. (Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP, File)

LONDON (AP) — Lawyers for an American woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew say they have served him with legal papers in a U.S. civil suit.

Attorneys for Virginia Giuffre say the documents were handed over to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of Andrew’s home in Windsor Great Park at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 27. The handover of the documents, first reported by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, is important because Andrew would be obliged to respond within 21 days of the summons.

“If you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint,” Giuffre’s lawyers said in the documents.

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Andrew’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The prince has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Giuffre, a longtime accuser of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

When the suit was filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, legal experts suggested it left Andrew with no good options as the second son of Queen Elizabeth II seeks to repair his image and return to public life.

If the prince tries to ignore the lawsuit, he runs the risk that the court could find him in default and order him to pay damages. And if he decides to fight, Andrew faces years of sordid headlines as the case winds its way through court.

The lawsuit is another unwanted story for the royals, reminding the public of Andrew’s links to Epstein two years after his death. Britain’s royal family is also still recovering from allegations of racism and insensitivity leveled at them by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, earlier this year.