The British royal family appears closer to permanently sidelining Prince Andrew after a new lawsuit was filed in the US alleging he sexually abused a teenage woman.
Prince Andrew could face investigation in the UK over the allegations, Britain’s most senior police officer said.
Cressida Dick, the head of London's Metropolitan Police, said “no one is above the law". The force will review the allegations after previously opting not to open an investigation, she said.
The review comes after Virginia Giuffre's legal team filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court in New York, alleging the Duke of York sexually abused her at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell in London.
Ms Maxwell was the wife of the late billionaire businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who was a convicted sex offender and killed himself while awaiting trial on further charges.
“I am aware that currently there is a lot more commentary in the media and an apparent civil court case going on in America and we will of course, again, review our position but at the moment there is no investigation,” the Met chief said.
“No one is above the law. It’s been reviewed twice before. We’ve worked closely with the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service], we are of course open to working with authorities from overseas. We will give them every assistance if they ask us for anything within the law.
“As a result of what’s going on, I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material. No one is above the law.”
The Times on Thursday quoted an unnamed source close to Andrew's brother, Prince Charles, as saying the heir to the throne views it as impossible for Andrew ever to return to public life because the accusation “raises its head with hideous regularity".
Andrew, 61, a divorced father of two and former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who fought in the 1982 Falklands War, was forced to step back from frontline royal duties in late 2019 after defending his friendship with Epstein on TV.
Ms Giuffre said the US lawsuit was brought under the Child Victims Act. She says she was trafficked to the Duke and sexually abused by him.
“I am holding Prince Andrew accountable for what he did to me,” she said this week. “The powerful and rich are not exempt from being held responsible for their actions.
Ms Giuffre claims the prince abused her when she was 17, allegedly as part of the sex trafficking activities of Mr Epstein.
Her lawyer David Boies said the royal’s legal team had “stonewalled” appeals for information for years.
In late 2019, Prince Andrew told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he never had sex with Ms Giuffre. “It didn’t happen,” he said.
He said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting her and told an interviewer there are “a number of things that are wrong” about Ms Giuffre’s account, which states the encounter occurred in 2001.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, claims the prince abused Ms Giuffre on several occasions when she was under 18.
Prince Andrew denies all the allegations.