It comes less than one month after a bad-tempered war-of-words between Prince Andrew’s lawyers and US prosecutors over the royal’s cooperation – or alleged lack of it – over their investigation into the late billionaire.
With Maxwell now in the headlines, there seems little respite in sight from the unrelenting pressure the prince has found himself under over his friendship with the pair.
He has known Maxwell, the daughter of the late, disgraced London newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell, by his own account since she was at Oxford University. They were, he has said, “close friends”. It was Maxwell who introduced him to Epstein in 1999.
Though Andrew eventually severed his contacts with Epstein, who was by then a convicted sex offender, he has maintained his friendship with Maxwell.
He last saw her in spring or summer last year “when she was here doing some rally”, he told Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in his car-crash interview in November, the fallout from which led to his stepping down from public life.
(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.
He was asked directly by Maitlis if Maxwell had “questions to answer about her role” over Epstein.
He replied: “ If there are questions that Ghislaine has to answer, that’s her problem, I’m afraid. I’m not in a position to be able to comment one way or the other.”
Reportedly introduced to her by his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, Andrew seems to have eagerly embraced the social contacts enabled by Maxwell, who was a pivotal fixture on the New York party circuit.
The prince was a guest at dinner parties organised by Maxwell, as Epstein’s aide-de-camp, at the financier’s Upper East Side mansion in New York.
Andrew and Maxwell were photographed at events, including the “pimps and prostitutes” theme party thrown in 2000 by the model Heidi Klum in Manhattan, with Maxwell attired in gold lame and wearing a blonde wig.
According to an Evening Standard report, in 2001 Andrew and Maxwell went on a number of trips together, including to Florida and Thailand, with claims Epstein joined them on occasion.
Andrew invited the pair to the palaces and mansions at his family’s disposal. He corrected Maitlis when she suggested he had hosted a 40th birthday party for Maxwell. It was, he said, “a straightforward shooting weekend”, held at Sandringham, at which Epstein was her “plus one”.
Maxwell and Epstein were guests at the 18th birthday party of his daughter Princess Beatrice at Windsor Castle. They stayed at Balmoral. They popped up on the star-studded guest list for the Dance of the Decades in 2000, at which more than 600 guests descended on Windsor Castle to mark four royal birthdays, including Andrew’s 40th.
It was at Maxwell’s London Belgravia townhouse that the duke was photographed with his arm around the waist of his now accuser, Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts). Allegedly taken in 2001, Andrew has said he has no memory of it, or of ever meeting Giuffre. She claims she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 years old. Her claims have been categorically denied by the prince who said they did not have sex.
Last month, Andrew’s lawyers issued a statement accusing the US investigators into Epstein of misleading the public and breaching their own confidentiality in their handling of the inquiry.
In a two-page statement, his lawyers alleged that the US Department of Justice had rejected three offers of help volunteered by Andrew this year. They also noted that the DoJ had “advised us that the duke is not and has never been a ‘target’ of their criminal investigations into Epstein” and that they had instead sought his “confidential, voluntary cooperation”.
Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York, responded by publicly accusing Andrew of trying to “falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate” and said that a request to schedule an interview had been “repeatedly declined”.