PRINCE Andrew has vowed to "fight back" to clear his name as he dramatically changes strategy in the Virginia Roberts sex assault case.
Virginia – a victim of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – is suing Andrew in a New York court after alleging she was forced to have sex with him three times when she was 17.
Andrew, 61, has vehemently denied the allegations in the past.
But the prince has finally conceded that the legal papers relating to the sex assault claims have been served.
In a joint stipulation filed on Friday in a US federal court, Andrew's attorneys confirmed they had received copies of the complaint and summons.
However, Andrew's lawyers plan to "examine and dismantle the claims one by one".
A well-placed source said the decision to bring in Andrew Brettler, the Duke's high-profile US lawyer, marks a "significant turning point" in the proceedings.
"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 to finally clear his name," the source said.
"They will be looking to examine and dismantle the claims one by one."
The move has formally marked an end to Andrew’s wall of silence strategy.
It comes after Virginia, now 38, agreed to hand over a secret document which Andrew's legal team believes may defeat her bombshell lawsuit.
Lawyers for Virginia will give a copy of a "release" signed in 2009 – following her settlement with Epstein – to the Duke, The Sun On Sunday revealed.
Andrew’s attorneys hope the clause will exempt Queen’s second son from any culpability in her sex assault claims against him – but Virginia’s lawyers have branded it "irrelevant".
The secret agreement is said to not apply to the royal – instead releasing lawyers, employees, agents and heirs from liability in connection with the Epstein case.
Virginia’s lead lawyer, David Boies, revealed in a new legal document, filed in New York this week, that he was happy to hand the document over to Andrew’s team.
Meanwhile, Andrew's lawyer revealed the Duke would respond to Virginia’s explosive claims by October 29.
Sources close to the Duke confirmed to The Sun On Sunday that he is to try and turn the tables on Virginia by challenging her account.
A source close to the duke said: "By launching this civil case, Mrs Giuffre has actively invited legal scrutiny of her own version of events.
"This provides an opportunity for the duke’s team to properly scrutinise the multiple inconsistencies in her narrative that have emerged over the years, and you can expect to see a rigorous defence of all her allegations."
The Duke looked pensive as he drove his Range Rover alone through the Queen’s Scottish estate on Friday.
He has not left the 50,000-acre site to celebrate with daughter Beatrice, 33 — who gave birth to her first child with husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi on Saturday.
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