Brother of Ghislaine Maxwell ‘recognises setting’ of Duke of York photo

Catherine Wylie
·5-min read

The brother of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell said he recognises the setting of a well-known photo showing the Duke of York next to Virginia Giuffre.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has previously cast doubt on the authenticity of the photo, said to be taken inside her Mayfair home, showing Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre.

Andrew has also questioned the validity of the image of him with Ms Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts.

Robert Maxwell contacts book auction
Ghislaine Maxwell is the former girlfriend of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (Chris Ison/PA)

Ms Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by financier Epstein, alleges the duke had sex with her on three separate occasions.

Andrew has categorically denied he has had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

Maxwell is in a US prison, awaiting trial on charges that she recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse between 1994 and 1997.

Her brother Ian Maxwell has said he does not know anything about the photograph, but said that he recognises the setting of where it was taken.

During an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Maxwell was asked about what he knows about the photograph.

Review of the Year 2020
The Queen and the Duke of York at a church service (Joe Giddens/PA)

He replied: “I don’t know anything about the photograph other than that I’ve seen it’s been published.

“This is outside the case that my sister is facing.

“And I know its interest to your listeners, but nonetheless I’m not here to talk about that photograph.”

He was then asked: “But do you recognise the setting of that? Was it taken in Ghislaine’s house in London?”

Mr Maxwell replied: “I do recognise that setting.”

Watch: Ghislaine Maxwell, the full story

The duke has said he has “no recollection” of meeting Ms Giuffre and cast doubt on the picture, claiming he is “not one to hug” or “display affection” in public.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019, Andrew said while he recognises himself in the picture with Ms Giuffre, he claimed it is not possible to prove whether the image had been faked.

He also claimed the picture could not have been taken in London, as he was in his “travelling clothes”.

Ms Giuffre insisted to BBC Panorama the photo was “authentic” and said she gave the original to the FBI in 2011.

Ghislaine Maxwell – Epsom
Ghislaine Maxwell is awaiting trial in the US (Jim James/PA)

Asked if it is possible that Andrew will be called as a witness in his sister’s defence, Mr Maxwell told the Today programme: “I can’t answer that. I just don’t know is the short answer.”

He was asked if his sister still considers Andrew a friend, and he said: “I don’t know. I would assume that she does, yes.”

Mr Maxwell told the programme his sister is in effective “isolation” and is under 24-hour surveillance with 10 cameras.

He said she is not a suicide risk and described how she is being dealt with in prison as “a grotesque overreaction”.

Mr Maxwell said he “can’t go into discussing the relationship of Ghislaine with Jeffrey Epstein”, adding: “I didn’t see them together … I think only once in my entire life in a social situation.”

Last week, Mr Maxwell told the Daily Telegraph that the American justice system – which he described as “bizarre” and “cruel” – must grant bail to his “much loved” sister, adding that her family is “solidly behind her”.

According to court documents released last October, Maxwell denied finding under-age sexual partners for Andrew and cast doubts on accounts by the royal’s accuser, including a claim that sex took place in a bath.

Accusing Ms Giuffre of a “tissue of lies”, Maxwell said the bath at her home in Mayfair was too small for any sexual activity.

Maxwell repeatedly denied any memory of the circumstances around Ms Giuffre’s claim that Andrew slept with her when she was 17 – still a minor under US law.

The Duke of York
The Duke of York has denied any wrongdoing (Steve Parsons/PA)

In the deposition transcript, from a since settled defamation case brought by Ms Giuffre, Maxwell accused the now mother-of-three of lying.

She denied all Ms Giuffre’s sex allegations.

In the deposition, Maxwell also cast doubt on the authenticity of the photo showing Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre, with Maxwell in the background, purportedly taken at her London home.

Maxwell said the surroundings in the photo looked “familiar”, but also said: “We can’t really establish the photograph and all that,” adding: “I don’t know if that’s true, if that’s a real picture or not.”

But, in the combative display, she went on to say: “Just for the record, I have never at any time, at any place, in any moment, ever asked Virginia Roberts, or whatever she is called now, to have sex with anybody.”

The transcript includes mention of an email allegedly sent to Maxwell by Andrew on January 3 2015, saying “let me know when we can talk. Got some specific questions to ask you about Virginia Roberts”.

Maxwell said she had spoken to Andrew “at some point” about Ms Roberts/Giuffre, and that the two had discussed “just what a liar she is”.

Ms Giuffre has alleged Maxwell recruited her at the age of 17 to be sexually abused from 1999 to 2002.

Andrew has withdrawn from official public duties after the disastrous Newsnight interview about his relationship with Epstein, which saw him criticised for showing little sympathy with the disgraced financier’s victims.

Epstein was 66 when he killed himself in jail in New York in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Watch: Survival underpins the Royal Family