Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in New York in June for sex trafficking underage girls on behalf of the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein, claims in an interview that a photo showing Prince Andrew with a 17-year-old girl ” forgery”.
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The former British socialite gave an interview to TalkTV, a British television network, from her prison in the United States. This will be aired on Monday evening, but excerpts were released on Sunday.
This interview mentions the photo, widely circulated in the media, showing Prince Andrew, brother of King Charles III, and Virginia Giuffre, held by the waist, all smiling, with Ghislaine Maxwell in the background.
American Virginia Giuffre accuses the prince of sexually abusing her three times in 2001, when she was 17, in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands. She claimed to have met him through Epstein.
Andrew, friend of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, struck an amicable settlement with her in February 2022, paying millions of dollars, thereby avoiding a civil lawsuit in New York that would have been deeply embarrassing for the British royal family.
But the prince, who fell from grace following these sexual assault allegations, has always denied the allegations and even claimed he never met Virginia Giuffre.
The photo is “fake,” says Ghislaine Maxwell in the interview excerpt. “I don’t think for a second that it’s real, actually I’m sure it’s not,” she adds.
“There was never an original and there is no photo. I’ve only seen a photocopy of it,” she says again.
In an interview with the BBC in 2019, Prince Andrew questioned the authenticity of the photo showing him with the teenager.
In addition, according to The Sun on Sunday and Mail on Sunday newspapers, Andrew is exploring legal options to try and quash the deal with Virginia Giuffre.
Andrew “will seek to overturn the multi-million dollar settlement with his sex accuser following the collapse of his trial against a well-known American attorney,” writes The Sun tabloid. The Duke of York is said to be in contact with his American lawyers.
“He is hoping for a recantation or even an apology that could allow him to resume his royal duties,” the newspaper writes.
According to an unnamed source quoted by the tabloid, Andrew “never wanted to do a deal and has always maintained his innocence.”
Andrew, Elizabeth II’s third child, was barred from all official public appearances and stripped of his military titles after this affair.
He’s the most unpopular member of the royal family: 86% of Britons have a negative opinion of him, according to a December YouGov poll.