Her Majesty The Queen has been joined by her son, Prince Andrew, and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, at Balmoral just 24 hours after a United States lawsuit accused The Duke of York of sex abuse. The lawsuit was filed by Virginia Giuffre who claims she was “lent out for sexual purposes” by Jeffrey Epstein when she was 17 and a minor under US law.
Giuffre’s legal action was filed in New York on Monday and is a civil case seeking unspecified monetary damages. The lawsuit is not a criminal case filed by the state.
Prince Andrew has categorically denied Giuffre’s claims and says he has no recollection of ever meeting her. Buckingham Palace has also declined to comment on the matter referring all enquiries to a separate representative of The Duke of York.
The Duke of York could now face a civil ruling in his absence if he fails to respond formally to the lawsuit. If Prince Andrew chooses to contest the proceedings, he faces a very public legal battle. A civil summons to serve Andrew with papers at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park was approved by a court clerk in New York on Monday and he has 21 days to respond or “face judgement by default.”
In a 2019 Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew said he could not remember meeting Ms Giuffre adding, “It didn’t happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”
The Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson were seen arriving at Balmoral on Tuesday. Typically, Prince Andrew is one of the first members of The Royal Family to join Her Majesty on her annual break at Balmoral Castle.
Photo: Iain Cameron