Lawyers for Prince Andrew‘s accuser Virginia Roberts have released a photograph showing that papers notifying him about the civil sex case were posted to his home.
It was posted by an employee from the London office of Boies Schiller Flexner in what is said to have been one of five attempts to reach Andrew, reported The Sun.
The letter was addressed to ‘Prince Andrew’ at his 30-room mansion at Royal Lodge on the private Windsor Great Park, which is three miles from Windsor Castle.
It comes as the High Court gave Andrew’s legal team seven days to challenge its decision to begin notifying him about the civil sex case in New York against him.
The picture shows a large white envelope with the head of his mother the Queen on a first class stamp being put into a Royal Mail postbox last week on September 9
The letter was posted by an employee from the London office of Boies Schiller Flexner in what is said to have been one of five attempts to reach Andrew over the civil sex case
The court in London accepted on Wednesday a request by Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers to formally contact the Duke of York about the legal proceedings launched in the US.
Andrew’s team are said to be contesting the court’s decision, over the lawsuit by Ms Giuffre who alleges the Queen’s son sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager.
Ms Giuffre, who was previously known as Virginia Roberts, is seeking unspecified damages but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.
She claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
The judge in the case, US district judge Lewis Kaplan, has ruled that Ms Giuffre’s legal team can try delivering the papers to Andrew’s Los Angeles-based lawyer, regardless of whether the duke authorised him to accept it.
Prince Andrew is pictured on Wednesday at Balmoral, where he is staying with the Queen
Ms Giuffre’s lawyers have said the service of the papers ‘is not intended to be a game of hide and seek behind palace walls.’
Virginia Giuffre is pictured after a hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case in New York in 2019
Andrew, who is currently at Balmoral with the Queen, has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The High Court said in a statement: ‘Lawyers for Prince Andrew have indicated that they may seek to challenge the decision of the High Court to recognise the validity of the Hague Convention request for service made by Ms Giuffre’s lawyers.
‘The High Court has directed that any challenge must be made by close of business on September 24.’
The issue of whether or not Andrew has been notified about the case – known as service of proceedings – was contested during the first pre-trial hearing of the civil case on Monday in New York.
David Boies, representing Ms Giuffre, said papers had been ‘delivered to the last known address of the defendant’ and documents had also been sent ‘by Royal Mail’.
Andrew B Brettler, the duke’s attorney, said the royal’s team contested the validity of service to date, adding he has not been properly served under either UK or international law.
Under the Hague Service Convention, a treaty that governs requests between countries for evidence in civil or commercial matters, Ms Giuffre’s legal team can ask the High Court in London to formally notify Andrew about her civil action.
Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts, then 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell pictured in London in 2001
Court papers filed in New York last night show Andrew’s lawyers want to argue over the definition of a ‘judicial officer’, in a possible indication of how he plans to concede no ground in the civil case against him.
US district judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled that Ms Giuffre’s legal team can try delivering the papers to Andrew’s Los Angeles lawyer
In the court claim filed under her married name, Ms Giuffre alleges she was trafficked to the duke by Epstein and is claiming damages for rape, sexual assault and battery.
Andrew’s high-powered legal team claim that Ms Giuffre’s attorneys do not have the authority to approach the High Court, which this week said it would serve the case papers on the prince if the two sides failed to agree it themselves.
Andrew’s side have argued that Mr Boies is not a ‘judicial, consular or diplomatic officer’ of the US.
The London court originally agreed with the duke before changing its decision following representations by his opponents, Boies Schiller Flexner (BSF), who cited US law.
But Gary Bloxsome, acting for Andrew, wrote to Senior Master Barbara Fontaine within hours on Wednesday, saying: ‘We contend that your original decision of 14 September 2021 to reject BSF’s direct request was correct, and your subsequent decision of 15 September 2021 is wrong.
Prince Andrew is seen with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson leaving Windsor on September 7
‘We ask that the original decision be restored, and the reasons communicated promptly to BSF.’
Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke
The judge said she would not ‘determine this disputed issue by email’ and ordered Andrew to file a proper legal application, which could result in an appeal being heard in court.
However Andrew’s argument may prove moot anyway after Mr Boies last night petitioned the New York court to directly contact its London counterpart. In his bid, Mr Boies wrote: ‘Ms Giuffre requests that the court exercise its discretion to order alternate service pursuant.’
The paperwork has already been left with police guards at Andrew’s Windsor home, Royal Lodge, and emailed to his lawyers but he disputes that they have properly been served upon him.
Her side last night accused him of trying to dodge the case by arguing against service while at the same time looking to build up his defence by asking for a copy of the deal.
In the court papers, they wrote: ‘Prince Andrew is both actively evading service of Ms Giuffre’s claims… while at the same time attempting to avail himself of discovery in order to aid his defence.’
Queen Elizabeth II with her son Prince Andrew on the Buckingham Palace balcony in June 2019
Andrew also plans to argue that a financial settlement Ms Giuffre signed with Epstein in 2009 precludes her from bringing a legal action against him.
But the duke’s hopes of getting the Epstein deal unsealed quickly suffered a blow last night when a judge ruled it would stay under wraps for now.
Last month, Ms Giuffre agreed to drop a claim for sexual assault against US lawyer Alan Dershowitz as a result of the settlement. Mr Dershowitz has strenuously denied her claims.
He has since lodged a request to have the original agreement unsealed, as he believes it may help to get the case against Andrew also thrown out.
But yesterday Judge Loretta A Preska, a senior US district judge, denied his application, saying that Dershowitz’s claim had ‘no basis’.