Queen Elizabeth II’s second son, Prince Andrew, was sued in a New York court on Monday for alleged sexual abuse of a woman who says she was “lent out” for underage sex by late US financier Jeffrey Epstein.
The filing at the US district court in Manhattan said Virginia Giuffre was the plaintiff in the case against the defendant, named as “Prince Andrew, Duke of York.”
Giuffre alleged in the filing that she “was regularly abused by Epstein and was lent out by Epstein to other powerful men for sexual purposes.
“One such powerful man… was the Defendant, Prince Andrew.”
According to the complaint, Giuffre said Andrew sexually abused her at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell more than 20 years ago, when she was under 18.
“Epstein, Maxwell, and Prince Andrew forced (the) Plaintiff, a child, to have sexual intercourse with Prince Andrew against her will,” it said.
Andrew, 61, has vehemently denied claims he had sex with Giuffre, and said he has no recollection of meeting her, but the allegations threaten to damage the British royal family.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the lawsuit and a public relations company representing Andrew e-mailed a “no comment” response to AFP on Tuesday.
The allegations have dogged the British monarchy for years.
The centuries-old institution was also rocked in March by a US television interview in March involving the 95-year-old Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan.
The couple, who moved to California last year, raised allegations of racism and bullying in Britain’s most famous family, prompting denials from the palace and promises of an inquiry.
– Dropped from royal duties –
Andrew, a divorced father of two and former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina, was forced to step back from frontline royal duties in late 2019.
That followed a furore at a rare television interview he gave to the BBC, in which he defended his friendship with Epstein, a multi-million-dollar hedge fund manager.
Andrew — who as a young man was considered one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors and was dubbed “Randy Andy” in the tabloid press — later issued a statement in which he said he “unequivocally” regretted his “ill-judged association” with Epstein.
But he has made few public appearances since, although joined other senior royals for the funeral of his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in April.
Epstein, who befriended celebrities including former president Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, killed himself in jail in 2019 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors.
Giuffre, now 38, also claims Andrew abused her at Epstein’s New York mansion and on Little St. James, Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
She is suing Andrew under the Child Victims Act as she was 17 at the time.
The court papers included a photograph alleged to show Andrew and Giuffre at Maxwell’s London home before one incident of sexual abuse.
Maxwell in April pleaded not guilty in court to charges of recruiting underage girls for Epstein.
She allegedly befriended girls with shopping and movie theater outings, and later coaxed them into giving Epstein nude massages during which he would engage in sex acts.
Giuffre, who has previously made her claims in television interviews, is suing Andrew for “exemplary, and punitive damages.”
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me. The powerful and the rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions,” she said in a media statement.
“I did not come to this decision lightly. As a mother and a wife, my family comes first. I know that this action will subject me to further attacks by Prince Andrew and his surrogates.”