Ghislaine Maxwell would never say anything about the Duke of York’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, according to one of her friends.
Maxwell appeared in court in the US on Thursday accused of helping disgraced financier Epstein “identify, befriend and groom” multiple girls, including one as young as 14.
The duke, who is a former friend of Epstein, has since been urged to provide information to the investigation by a US attorney.
Born in Maisons-Laffitte, Île-de-France, in 1961, Ghislaine Maxwell is the youngest of the nine children of Betty and Robert Maxwell, the media tycoon owner of the Mirror Group
Ghislaine was rumoured to be his favourite child, and the former Labour MP named his £15m ($18.6m) yacht Lady Ghislaine after her. He put his daughter in charge of his football club he owned, Oxford United, and when he acquired the New York Daily News, he reportedly sent Ghislaine to warm up Manhattan society for his arrival.
Following her father’s death in 1991 – after apparently falling overboard from Lady Ghislaine near the Canary Islands – Ghislaine Maxwell flew to New York onboard a Concorde. She left behind a huge uproar over $460m found to be missing from her father’s companies’ pensions funds.
Her family’s wealth, status and influence considerably depleted, Maxwell found something of a replacement in her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Their relationship was initially romantic, but it evolved into something more akin to that of a close friend, confidante and personal assistant. Epstein was later convicted of sex offences, and subsequently died in prison in 2019.
In 2015, Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, sued Maxwell, alleging the British socialite defamed her by claiming she was a liar in her accusations against Maxwell and Epstein. Giuffre has accused Maxwell of recruiting her to work as Epstein’s masseuse at the age 15, when she was a locker-room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in south Florida. Documents released as part of the lawsuit contain lurid claims about the alleged sex trafficking.
In July 2020, after having been in hiding, Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on charges related to Jeffrey Epstein.
Laura Goldman, a former investment banker, said she had spoken to Maxwell in the past month over the investigation into Epstein’s sexual exploitation of young girls, and that she had seen she was “coming to the end of the road”.
Speaking to the Today programme on Saturday, Goldman was asked if Maxwell would seek to obtain a plea deal in which she might plead guilty to some charges in return for a commuted sentence. “I think she has to,” Goldman said.
Asked if she would talk about Prince Andrew, Goldman said. “No. She’s always told me that she would never ever say anything about him. I think she felt that he was her friend and she was never ever going to say anything about him. She really felt that in the 90s when her father died that Prince Andrew was there for her, in many ways.”
(January 1, 1999)
In the early 90s, Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, met investment banker and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Their relationship was initially romantic, but it evolved into something more akin to that of Maxwell being a close friend, confidante and personal assistant.
The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, was reportedly introduced to Epstein through their mutual friend Maxwell in 1999, and Epstein reportedly visited the Queen’s private retreat in Aberdeenshire.
Some have suggested the introduction was made earlier. A 2011 letter to the Times of London from the prince’s then private secretary, Alastair Watson, suggests Andrew and Epstein knew each other from the early 90s.
(January 1, 2000)
Andrew, Maxwell and Epstein are seen together at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Later that year, Epstein and Maxwell attend a joint birthday party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen.
(January 1, 2001)
Andrew and Epstein holiday together and are pictured on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand, surrounded by topless women. The Times of London reported the prince’s holiday was paid for by Epstein.
In the same year, Virginia Giuffre, then 17, claims to have had sex with Andrew in Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, London. Giuffre, whose surname was Roberts at the time of the alleged incidents, says she slept with Andrew twice more, at Epstein’s New York home and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean.
(January 1, 2008)
Epstein is jailed for 18 months by a Florida state court after pleading guilty to prostituting minors.
(January 1, 2010)
Soon after his release, Epstein is visited by Andrew in New York. The pair are photographed together in Central Park. Footage emerges years later, reportedly shot on 6 December, that appears to show Andrew inside Epstein’s Manhattan mansion waving goodbye to a woman from behind a door.
(January 1, 2011)
Andrew quits his role as UK trade envoy following a furore over the Central Park photos.
(January 1, 2015)
Allegations that Andrew had sex with Giuffre emerge in court documents in Florida related to Epstein. The papers say she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under the age of consent under Florida law. Buckingham Palace denies the allegations. The claims against Andrew are later struck from US civil court records following a federal judge’s ruling.
(January 1, 2019)
Andrew is accused of sexual impropriety by a second alleged Epstein victim, Johanna Sjoberg. She claims he touched her breast at the billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace says the allegations are 'categorically untrue'.
(August 10, 2019)
Epstein is found dead in his jail cell after being re-arrested and charged with sex trafficking. A medical examiner says the death was a suicide.
A pilot on Epstein’s private jet later that month claims Andrew was a passenger on past flights with the financier and Giuffre.
(November 20, 2019)
Andrew takes part in a disastrous BBC TV interview during which he claims he could not have had sex with Giuffre because he was at home after a visit to Pizza Express in Woking, and that her description of his dancing with her beforehand could not be true because he was unable to sweat, and that he had "no recollection of ever meeting this lady". After several days of negative reaction, Andrew announces he is to step back from public duties 'for the foreseeable future'.
(January 27, 2020)
US prosecutor Geoffrey Berman gives a public statement suggesting there has been 'zero cooperation' with the investigation from Andrew.
(June 8, 2020)
After Berman again claims the prince has 'completely shut the door' on cooperating with the US investigation in March, lawyers for Andrew insist he has repeatedly offered to cooperate and accuse US prosecutors of misleading the public and breaching confidentiality.
(July 2, 2020)
Maxwell, who has seldom been seen in public in recent years, is arrested by the FBI on charges related to Epstein.
Maxwell, the daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, faces six charges: conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors, and transportation of a minor, with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and two of perjury. If convicted she faces up to 35 years.
She has denied any wrongdoing.
Epstein killed himself last August before facing trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Prince Andrew has come under intense pressure to cooperate with the prosecution. US prosecutors have said they would “welcome” a statement from the royal, while lawyers for multiple women demanded he “be a man”, “speak up” and stop “deliberately avoiding” US authorities.
Sources close to the Duke of York’s legal working group have said he has offered his assistance to the investigation “on a number of occasions this year” and that the working group had “proactively contacted the DoJ twice in the last month and have received no response”.
Goldman said she became friends with Maxwell in New York in the 1990s. Goldman said she attended Epstein’s “wild” parties in Palm Beach, Florida, but that she never saw Maxwell with “young women”.
Asked if she thought Maxwell was under the control of Epstein, Goldman said: “Yes, I do. That doesn’t mean that what she did was OK.
“I think she thought that if she did one more grooming, found him one more girl, he would marry her. Is that OK? No. She honestly thought that at the end of the day she was going to be Mrs Jeffrey Epstein.
“She knew she was coming to the end of the road,” Goldman said of her most recent conversations with Maxwell.
Goldman has been challenged over her relationship with Maxwell, with one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Victoria Roberts Giuffre, having called on Goldman to turn Maxwell over to police.
It was reported on Friday night that Prince Andrew had organised Maxwell a private tour of Buckingham Palace, during which she had sat on a throne.
A photograph obtained by the Telegraph appears to show her reclining on the throne beside the actor Kevin Spacey in 2002.
The paper said the pair were on a private tour of the palace organised by the prince for the former US president, Bill Clinton.