The United States has reportedly demanded Prince Andrew be handed over for questioning over his alleged ties with convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.
In an explosive new report from The Sun, the British Prince faces a court quiz in a move that has bypassed the Palace, as the case against Epstein becomes more urgent.
It is alleged that Andrew was friendly with Epstein and may also have been involved in his sex trafficking circle.
One key witness, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, claims she had sexual relations with Andrew between 2001 and 2002, when she was underage.
According to the report from The Sun, the US Department of Justice has by-passed Buckingham Palace and instead filed a "mutual legal assistance" request to the Home Office.
Ultimately, this means the Prince could be forced to appear in court as a witness within a matter of months.
Earlier this year, it was revealed the Prince had provided "zero cooperation" in the case against Epstein, with US lawyer Geoffrey Berman confirming his actions to the New York Times.
It is understood Prince Andrew's fate with the court case is yet to be decided with UK officials.
"It's a huge statement of intent from the US and it moves Andrew into the realms of a criminal investigation," a source explained.
"It's also frankly a diplomatic nightmare."
The source continued: "The [Department of Justice] does not make a request of this nature lightly, especially one involving a senior member of the British royal family.
"It puts the UK government in a very difficult position - and the Duke of York even even more so."
In a potential twist, likely due to Prince Andrew's lack of involvement in the case thus far, the royal may be asked to attend London's City of Westminster Magistrates' Court to provide oral or written evidence on oath.
And if Andrew refuses this, he could be forced to attend in person by summons, with Department of Justice lawyers able to quiz him, according to The Sun.
WATCH: Prince Andrew attempts to deny allegations made towards him by Virginia Roberts. Story continues...
News about the British Prince was rife last year after he delivered an explosive interview with the BBC, which was quickly labelled a "car crash".
In the interview with journalist Emily Maitlis, the Prince spoke of the accusations made against him by Virginia.
"It didn't happen," Prince Andrew said.
"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
In the widely scrutinised interview, the Prince also relayed some very specific facts, which came across as rather unusual to many, including that he had taken Princess Beatrice to a pizza restaurant around the time he had been accused of being out in London with the woman.
He also said her claims that he was profusely sweating could not be true, because he had a pre-existing medical condition that made it " almost impossible" to sweat.
Following the interview, and the widespread uproar it caused, the Prince formally stepped back from his royal duties in November 2019.
"It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support."
He added: "Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."