Friends said she would never sell him out and, despite the conditions she has endured at the grim and notorious Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn since her arrest in July 2020, she has proved them right. Critics believe Andrew, 62, will forever be tainted by his friendship with Maxwell, a convicted sex trafficker, and her late sometime boyfriend and then boss Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted paedophile.
But in spite of the Duke of York’s decision to pay millions in an out-of-court settlement to Virginia Giuffre who says she was trafficked and forced to sleep with the Queen’s son, Maxwell, 60, has remained quiet about him.
She has never once suggested that Andrew did anything wrong during the times he spent with her, Epstein, and the American financier’s young female employees at various locations around the world.
The Duke of York described in his ill-fated interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019 how he met Ghislaine when she was a student at Oxford University. She graduated with a degree in modern history with languages from Balliol College, Oxford, in 1985. At the time he was in the Royal Navy. It was through Ghislaine that he met Epstein in 1999 and, he maintains, throughout their friendship it was Ghislaine who was the link between them.
Andrew and Ghislaine are believed to have dated for a while in 2000 and 2001, although they have never confirmed it. Certainly they spent a good deal of time together during that period.
Paul Page, a former palace police officer, has described how Ghislaine would come and go from morning until evening when Andrew was at Buckingham Palace, leading him and colleagues to believe the pair were in an intimate relationship. “Ghislaine Maxwell has lived a life of luxury and privilege which included unrestricted access to Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace unlike no other person I have ever seen,” he said yesterday. “He has important questions to answer which will not go away.”
They were in New York and Florida together. Maxwell and Epstein attended Andrew’s 40th birthday party at Windsor Castle in June 2000. Andrew and Ghislaine were pictured at Royal Ascot together and at the high society wedding in Wiltshire of the Duke’s former girlfriend, Aurelia Cecil.
In October 2000 Andrew and Maxwell were pictured together at Heidi Klum’s Halloween party in Manhattan and in December that year the Duke hosted Maxwell and Epstein to a “straightforward shooting weekend” at Sandringham.
FBI officers had been keen to interview Andrew about what if anything he knew of a sex trafficking ring involving Epstein, Maxwell and some of their wealthy friends.
But with Epstein dead and Maxwell now incarcerated, will their investigations now go any further?
Vicky Ward, one of the journalists who first investigated Epstein wrote yesterday that the powerful men who enabled Epstein have endured. “Their reputations and their very lives depend on the truth never getting out,” she wrote.
“So remember that as Ghislaine Maxwell goes down. She’s going down for herself, yes. But she’s also going down for them. And, well, that’s a problem.”