Prince Andrew is said to be deeply worried now that London's High Court has agreed to serve him papers regarding his alleged sexual abuse case.

The Duke of York had hoped that the case would run its course and eventually get thrown out given his legal team's contention that he was not properly served. But the court has taken action and accepted a request from the accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, to slap him with the U.S. civil papers under the Hague Service Convention.

This means Giuffre's lawyers do not necessarily have to personally hand the papers to Prince Andrew. They can leave the documents at the doorstep of his home at the Royal Lodge in Windsor. He would also need to provide documents if he wishes to contest the accusations. He and his legal team would then be given just 21 days to respond once served.

This development in the case has reportedly left him troubled and his "bullish" behaviour altogether changed. A source told the Mirror that the 61-year old "has not been his usual blasé self, acting like everything is in hand." The case has reportedly "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," the insider said and another source chimed in, "The stark reality is that the Duke and his team need to face the fact they need to address this."

Meanwhile, Giuffre's lawyer David Boies shared his hope that the royal "will now stop trying to evade and delay facing his accuser in court." After all, he is "being served and "cannot refuse." Judge Lewis Kaplan has rescheduled the hearing for Oct. 17 after the duke's legal team argued that the case is "baseless" during a hearing on Monday via teleconference.

Prince Andrew is said to still be in hiding at Balmoral where insiders claimed he can remain in order not to be served with the civil papers. He can make it his home address because London's High Court does not have jurisdiction there. Giuffre's lawyers would have to ask permission from Edinburgh's Court of Session. It is said his lawyers "must have known Scotland would be out of reach when he scarpered up there."

Prince Andrew's lawyers deny lack of cooperation
US investigators have alleged that Britain's Prince Andrew has refused to help in the Epstein investigation. Photo: AFP / JOHN THYS