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Judge Reminds Prince Andrew He's Not Playing 'Hide and Seek Behind Palace Walls'

The royal is reportedly 'not his usual blasé self'

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As the legal teams of Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre continue to scuffle over technicalities in her civil suit against the disgraced royal, a judge has informed Andrew that “service is not intended to be a game of hide and seek behind palace walls.” He’s running out of places to hide, anyway, and the reality of his situation is reportedly sinking in.

Lawyers for Andrew—who has repeatedly denied Giuffre’s accusations—have insistently made the case that Andrew has not been properly, legally served with official notice of this lawsuit. But they are rapidly running out of runway on that particular argument. Earlier this week, the High Court of the United Kingdom ruled that if the two legal teams couldn’t come to an agreement, they would serve Andrew. But a spokesperson for the court also told Reuters that Andrew’s lawyers had indicated they might challenge the ruling: “Lawyers for Prince Andrew have indicated that they may seek to challenge the decision of the High Court to recognise the validity of the Hague Convention request for service made by Ms Giuffre’s lawyers.”

Meanwhile, the Times reported that in the US, on September 16, Giuffre’s lawyers filed a motion requesting that the judge overseeing the case, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, rule that Andrew had already been properly served, stressing the many ways they had attempted to notify this man about a court action he could hardly avoid knowing about:

As evidence of their efforts to serve the duke with the suit, they enclosed photographs of an envelope containing the suit being posted into a British post box, with a first-class stamp.

They also attached a delivery notice from FedEx, a delivery confirmation from a London courier company, and copies of automated email acknowledgments from lawyers who have represented the duke in past cases.

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In response, Reuters reported, Kaplan quickly ruled that it would be legally sufficient if Giuffre’s team served Andrew via his LA-based lawyer, also named Andrew. (Last name Brettler; he has also represented Armie Hammer and Danny Masterson.) “Service is not intended to be a game of hide and seek behind palace walls,” Kaplan wrote pointedly in his ruling.

Meanwhile, the Times reported that a different New York judge—Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan—ruled that Andrew’s team could seek information about a document Giuffre signed as part of her 2009 settlement with Epstein, which Andrew’s lawyers suggest may absolve Andrew of any liability (though he was not a party in that suit).

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But the Mirror reports that Andrew isn’t exactly feeling over-the-moon confident these days:

One source said: “He’s not been his usual blasé self, acting like everything is in hand.

“The issue has suddenly become very pressing and there is a distinct tension in the air.

“There has been a dramatic shift in mood and the reality that this could not only go on for many months, if not years, as well as costing potentially millions of pounds is very real.”

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His place on the Buckingham Palace balcony at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is the least of his worries these days.