Prince Andrew allegations: Who's who and what do we know?

The Buckingham Palace has twice issued denials that the Duke of York has committed any impropriety with an underage girl. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Prince Andrew has flown back to the UK from a skiing holiday after a woman alleged she was forced to have sex with him while she was underage.

The woman made the claim in a US lawsuit relating to a case against a former associate of the Duke of York.

Buckingham Palace has emphatically denied the claims against the fifth in line to the British throne. A spokesperson said "any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors" by Andrew was "categorically untrue".

Here's a summary of how the allegations unfolded:

The claims against Prince Andrew:

The court documents in which Prince Andrew is named relate to his former friend Jeffrey Epstein, an American billionaire who was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution.

In the US court papers, the woman, referred in the documents as 'Jane Doe #03' and named by the Mail on Sunday as Virginia Roberts, claims she was sexually trafficked by Epstein for "politically connected and financially powerful people" after meeting him in 1999.

The lawsuit alleges that between 1999 and 2002 she "was forced to have sexual relations with this prince [Prince Andrew] when she was a minor" in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein.

According to the papers filed in Florida, she was 17 at the time, which is under the age of consent in the state.

In 2001 the prince was photographed with his arm around Ms Roberts but he has strenuously denied her claims of sexual contact.

She reportedly ended her association with Epstein a year later after meeting an Australian man who she married in 2002.

Jeffrey Epstein's jailing:

Epstein was arrested in 2005 after the stepmother of a 14-year-old girl told police he had paid the teenager for an erotic massage at his mansion, sparking claims by prosecutors of many more allegations from young women.

A federal inquiry was later dropped and Epstein agreed a plea pargain with prosecutors.

He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

Prince Andrew's link to Jeffrey Epstein:

Andrew, who had first met Epstein in the 1990s, was photographed with him in New York's Central Park in March 2011, two years after the American's prison release. The royal was widely condemned for their apparent renewed friendship.

Prince Andrew stood down as UK Trade Envoy after intense media scrutiny of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and other figures. Credit: PA

Ms Roberts waived her anonymity in an interview with the Mail on Sunday the same month, in which she claimed she had been sexually exploited by Epstein.

Prince Andrew stood down from his role as the UK Trade Envoy in June 2011. The Duke gave up the post following the intense scrutiny he faced over his relationships with Epstein and other controversial figures.

Virginia Roberts' claims of sex trafficking:

Several newspapers have since published details of interviews given by Ms Roberts in recent years, in which she discusses the three alleged encounters with the Duke, along with her account of her sexual relationship with Epstein.

In the latest court papers, Epstein is accused of repeatedly abusing the woman on his private jet and luxury homes in New York, New Mexico, Florida and the US Virgin Islands.

The other allegations in the US lawsuit:

Alongside Buckingham Palace's strong denial of the claims against Andrew, several others named in the latest lawsuit have refuted the allegations.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who represented Epstein in the 2008 case, is also named in the documents as having had sexual contact with the woman.

Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz said he will begin legal proceedings against his accuser. Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

He described the claims against him as being part of a pattern of "made-up stories" against prominent people and said he intends to bring charges against her.

The lawsuit also names the daughter of late newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine Maxwell, as introducing the woman to Epstein in 1999 when she was 15-years-old.

Ghislaine Maxwell, seen in 2000, has denied claims made against her in the Florida court document. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

Ms Maxwell said the claims against her are "untrue" and "obvious lies".

She has previously denied any wrongdoing and said in 2011 she would take legal action over some of the reporting of the story.

The woman bringing the lawsuit has hit back at the claims.

In a statement released through her lawyers, she said: "These types of aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time. That trend should change. I'm not going to be bullied back into silence."

Claims of a meeting with the Queen:

Virginia Roberts' father, Sky Roberts, also told the Mail on Sunday his daughter told him she met the Queen during the visit to London in which she claims she first met Andrew.

Buckingham Palace said there is no evidence the Queen has met the woman at the centre of the sex allegations against her son. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Palace said it has no record of such a meeting and said "there is nothing to suggest the claim is true".