How Has Prince Andrew Changed His Legal Strategy?

Between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's controversial decision to step back from the British monarchy and Prince Philip's heartbreaking death at age 99, it has been quite a tumultuous and trying couple of years for Queen Elizabeth and the royal family. The U.K.'s royals have also been plagued with speculation surrounding Prince Andrew's involvement with disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August 2019 in a New York City jail while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, per CNBC.

The Duke of York's name was dragged into Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring when Virginia Giuffre came forward with sexual assault allegations, claiming Andrew forced her to have sex with him in London and New York, as well as on Epstein's private Caribbean island when she was just 17 years old. According to a lawsuit filed in September 2021, per The New York Post, the accuser's lawyer, David Boies, claimed Giuffre "feared death or physical injury to herself" if she did not follow through with the orders.

Giuffre's allegations first came to light in April 2015 when Andrew was named in a defamation case against Epstein and his close associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Though the accusation was struck from the record at the time, the news blew up in August 2019 when the court documents were unsealed, per Insider. While Andrew has vehemently denied the claims and kept a tight lip, he recently changed his legal strategy — keep scrolling for details.

Prince Andrew is fighting back to 'clear his name'

From the very moment Prince Andrew was named by Virginia Giuffre for allegedly sexually assaulting her on three different occasions, both the Duke of York and Buckingham Palace haven't wavered when it comes to denying the shocking claims. Now that Andrew is being served legal papers in a civil sexual assault case, it appears his approach is altering a bit. According to the Daily Mail, the drawn-out legal "cat and mouse" game is over, as "it's time to turn and fight back." The prince's lawyers finally acknowledged the lawsuit on September 24, and he has until October 29 to respond.

Despite previously keeping mum, Andrew has every intention of "[clearing] his name," the source said to the outlet. "The decision to bring in high-profile [U.S. lawyer] Andrew Brettler to fight the civil case marks a significant turning point in approach, and the US team will be looking to robustly engage and challenge the claims from Mrs. Giuffre in a bid to provide the Duke with a platform," the insider explained, adding Andrew's lawyers "will be looking to examine and dismantle the claims one by one."

While speaking about the accusations during a rare interview with the BBC in 2019 (via CNN), Andrew doubled-down on his innocence, saying he never engaged in sexual acts with Giuffre. "It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," he insisted.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).