A US court will hold a pretrial conference on Monday in the civil suit filed by a woman who claims Prince Andrew sexually assaulted her.
Lawyers for the alleged victim, Virginia Roberts 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 27 August.
But Blackfords, a law firm that claims to represent Andrew “in certain UK matters”, has questioned whether the papers were properly served and raised the possibility of challenging the court’s jurisdiction in the case, according to a 6 September letter referenced in court documents filed by Giuffre’s attorneys.
“We reiterate that our client reserves all his rights, including to contest the jurisdiction of the US courts (including on the basis of potentially defective service),” they wrote.
Judge Lewis Kaplan of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York will hold the first pretrial conference in the case via teleconference on Monday to determine whether the papers were properly delivered.
The prince has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Giuffre, 38, a longtime accuser of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
When the suit was filed last month, legal experts suggested it left Andrew with no good options as he seeks to repair his image and return to public life.
Guiffre’s lawyer, David Boies, said in court documents that it was implausible that Andrew was unaware of the suit.
“Attorneys at Blackfords, who he has apparently instructed to evade and contest service, have confirmed that Prince Andrew himself already has notice of this lawsuit and is evaluating his chances of success,” Boies wrote.
“And even if Blackfords had not confirmed as much, any other conclusion would be implausible – reputable media outlets around the world reported on the filing of plaintiff’s complaint, and hundreds, if not thousands, of articles about this lawsuit have been published.”
The lawsuit is another unwanted story for the royals, reminding the public of Andrew’s links to Epstein two years after his death.
Giuffre, now 38, is arguably Epstein’s most high-profile victim. She has repeatedly accused the Queen’s son of having sex with her three times when she was aged 17 in London, New York and the British Virgin Islands.