The Duke of York will hide himself away at Balmoral Castle for the next two weeks as his lawyers work on ways to quash his sex abuse case.
Prince Andrew’s legal team was accused by a New York judge on Monday of trying to stall his lawsuit by claiming he hadn’t properly been served papers.
Lawyers for Virginia Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who brought the civil case against the Duke, say they had already handed him papers in ‘several ways’.
But they were given another week to do so again and an unimpressed Judge Lewis Kaplan urged Andrew’s team to ‘cut out all the technicalities and get to the substance’.
Ms Giuffre, 38, claims she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times when she was 17.
She says this was arranged by his former friend and paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in a New York jail cell in 2019 while awaiting sex-trafficking charges. Andrew vehemently denies the allegations against him.
The Duke is now holed up at the Queen’s private 550-acre Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire while his lawyers discuss their next move.
An insider at the ground told the Sun: ‘He seems to be determined to stay out of sight and makes it impossible for anyone to serve papers.’
Just days before his hearing, Andrew held a shooting party on the grounds with a select group of guests, which was thought to include the Crown Prince of Bahrain.
Royal sources accused him ‘carrying on as if nothing has happened’ as his case approaches.
Earlier this week ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship said: ‘If they continue to stonewall if they’re continuing this policy of silence that is the legal advice that Prince Andrew is getting.
‘As I understand it he’s very frustrated by this whole process.
‘I think reputationally, he probably knows as does the Royal Family, as does the Queen who he is staying with at Balmoral – this policy of silence isn’t helping him reputationally.’
Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit against the Duke citing allegations of battery by sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Under the claim for battery, the lawsuit says Andrew’s actions ‘constitute sexual offences as defined in (New York law) including but not limited to sexual misconduct as defined (as) rape in the third degree, rape in the first degree’.
It also claims the Duke’s conduct amounted to ‘forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree, and sexual abuse in the first degree’.
The lawsuit says Ms Giuffre has suffered ‘extreme emotional distress, humiliation, fear, psychological trauma, loss of dignity and self-esteem, and invasion of her privacy’.