Andrew served with US civil suit: lawyers

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Lawyers for an American woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the Duke of York say they have served him with legal papers in a US civil suit.

Lawyers for Virginia Giuffre say the documents were handed over to a Metropolitan Police officer on duty at the main gates of Prince Andrew's home in Windsor Great Park on August 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 says in the documents.

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 US District Court for the Southern District of New York, legal experts suggested it left Andrew with no good options as the second son of the Queen 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 levelled at them by Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, earlier this year.

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