Prince Andrew got some good news on the legal front Tuesday when a Florida judge ruled that that underage sex allegations against the royal had no relevance in an ongoing lawsuit.
"At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary. These unnecessary details shall be stricken," a Florida judge ruled as part of a civil lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted pedophile, sex offender and former pal of Andrew's.
The 55-year-old prince was named in court papers by Virginia Roberts, now in her 30s, who alleged that the financier forced her to have sex with men including the Duke of York in several locations between 1999 and 2002, when she was just 17.
Prince Andrew, fifth in line to the throne, is not mentioned by name in the 10-page ruling made this week by a Palm Beach County Court jurist. Judge Kenneth Marra referred to the claims that the young woman was allegedly forced to have sex with powerful men saying they were "immaterial and impertinent."
The case was brought by two other women, identified in court papers as Jane Does, who are suing the U.S. government over a plea deal prosecutors made with Epstein. Roberts made her claims in an attempt to join the lawsuit, but the judge ruled against her.
The palace has denied the claims against Prince Andrew from the start. “The allegations made are false and without any foundation," a spokesperson said earlier this year. "This relates to long-running and ongoing civil proceedings in the United States to which the Duke of York is not a party. As such we would not comment in detail, however, for the avoidance of doubt, any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue."
And the Prince briefly addressed the controversy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January. "I wish to reiterate and reaffirm the statements already made by Buckingham Palace," Queen Elizabeth's son said. "My focus is my work."
Even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson has supported Andrew. "It is defamation of character," she said on NBC’s Today. "And as a great father and humongously good man in all the work he does for Britain, [I] won’t stand by and let him have his character defamed to this level."
Prince Andrew most recently spent Easter attending mass at Windsor Castle with other members of the British monarchy.