Prince Andrew has yet to publicly comment on his friend Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest. She was taken into custody in early July on six counts related to the sexual abuse and trafficking of minors and lying to investigators. If convicted, she faces up to 35 years in prison.
But the Queen’s son’s silence on the matter hasn’t stopped the press from zeroing in on their friendship as the royal family’s latest scandal.
Prince Andrew was already under immense publicly scrutiny over his association with convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested almost exactly one year ago on multiple sex trafficking charges and died by suicide in jail before his trial could begin.
Now, Maxwell’s court case has thrust Prince Andrew even further into that unwanted spotlight. Here, take a look at the royal’s history with Epstein’s alleged accomplice.
Maxwell has been friends with Prince Andrew for decades.
Few details about the beginning of Prince Andrew’s relationship with Maxwell have been made public, but in 1999, she reportedly introduced the royal to Epstein, and the trio were photographed several times together in 2000, including at the Royal Ascot horse races (above, Maxwell is in green) and at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
During Prince Andrew’s sit-down interview with Newsnight last November, he also confirmed that Epstein had been a guest at both Windsor Castle and at a “shooting weekend” at Sandringham in 2000, explaining that Maxwell was “the key element in this.”
Epstein, he said, “was the, as it were, plus one, to some extent in that aspect.”
During that same broadcast, Prince Andrew shared that he cut ties with Epstein during a trip to New York in 2010, when the two men were photographed walking in the park together. By then, Epstein was already a convicted sex-offender.
“I went to see him and I was doing a number of other things in New York at the time and we had an opportunity to go for a walk in the park and that was the conversation coincidentally that was photographed which was when I said to him, I said, ‘Look, because of what has happened, I don’t think it is appropriate that we should remain in contact,’” Andrew explained.
“By mutual agreement during that walk in the park we decided that we would part company and I left, I think it was the next day and to this day I never had any contact with him from that day forward.”
In contrast, Andrew said he had in touch with Maxwell within the past year, having spoken to her “before July,” ahead of Epstein’s arrest. But the conversation, he says, didn’t turn to their mutual friend.
“There wasn’t anything to discuss about him because he wasn’t in the news, you know, it was just… we had moved on,” he said.
Epstein’s alleged victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges she was trafficked to Prince Andrew in Maxwell’s home.
Giuffre says Maxwell told her “to do for [Prince Andrew] what you do for Epstein.” Giuffre also alleges that she and Prince Andrew had sex multiple times, including once at Maxwell’s home, a claim Prince Andrew denies.
“I have no recollection of meeting her,” Prince Andrew said in the Newsnight interview. Buckingham Palace also issued a statement on Prince Andrew’s behalf addressing Giuffre’s allegations. It reads:
“It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Watch the full Newsnight interview here:
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What does Maxwell’s case mean for Prince Andrew?
In short, it’s unclear at this point—but he’s certainly someone investigators would like to talk to.
During the press conference following Maxwell’s arrest, Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was asked a question regarding Prince Andrew.
“I’m not going to comment on anyone’s status in this investigation but I will say that we would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us, we would like to have the benefit of his statement,” she said.
“I have no further comment beyond what I just said, which is that our doors remain open, as we previously said, and we would welcome him coming in and giving us an opportunity to hear his statement.”
Previously, Prince Andrew publicly said that he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required,” and the Prince’s legal team at Blackfords, stated that he had “offered his assistance as a witness” in investigations regarding Epstein’s crimes three times this year.
But Strauss’s predecessor, Geoffrey S. Berman, responded to the statement from Blackfords with a Tweet revealing that the Prince “has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and nearly four months ago informed us unequivocally – through the very same counsel who issued today’s release – that he would not come in for such an interview.”
In early July, the New York Times reported that Prince Andrew’s lawyers had spoken with “a Washington lobbyist with ties to the Trump administration about the possibility of assisting the prince with fallout from his relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.” But sources close to Andrew’s team have denied there were talks.
What’s the story with those photos of Maxwell on a throne?
On July 3, the Telegraph published photos taken in 2002 of Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey sitting on thrones in Buckingham Palace. These red chairs belong to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, and were used during the Queen’s coronation. Per the publication, Maxwell and Spacey “were invited into the throne room on a private tour of the Palace organised by the Duke of York, a close friend of Ms Maxwell’s.”
Maxwell was reportedly at the Palace that day as Andrew’s guest, and Spacey was there with former President Bill Clinton.
Neither Buckingham Palace nor Prince Andrew or his legal team has responded to this image being made public, but in 2017, Andrew said he had “no recollection” of the tour, and the Palace would not comment “on speculation about any private meeting of any member of the royal family.”
“Going anywhere near the thrones is a total no-no,” a source told reporter Roya Nikkhah.
“If a member of staff did, there would be disciplinary action. The Queen would not have been amused.”
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