Ghislaine Maxwell says she feels bad for ‘dear friend’ Prince Andrew

Comments will be embarrassing for royal who has tried to distance himself from disgraced socialite

Ghislaine Maxwell has spoken from a US prison cell about how she feels “so bad” for her “dear friend” Prince Andrew.

In her first lengthy interview since her conviction on sex-trafficking charges last year, Maxwell said she still cared about the Duke of York, who has been stripped of royal duties over his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Speaking to the Israeli-American documentary filmmaker Daphne Barak, Maxwell said: “I feel so bad for him. I follow what is happening to him.’’

According to the Sun on Sunday, which published the interview, Maxwell looked “shaken” when told that the prince’s lawyers had claimed the pair were never close.

She replied: “I accept that this friendship could not survive my conviction. He is paying such a price for the association. I consider him a dear friend. I care about him.”

The remarks will cause fresh embarrassment for Andrew as he has repeatedly tried to distance himself from the disgraced socialite.

Maxwell, 60, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in June for procuring teenage girls for Epstein to abuse from 1994 to 2004. She continues to deny the charges.

Epstein was a financier whose elite associates once included the Duke of York and Bill Clinton. He was arrested in July 2019 on sex-trafficking charges and killed himself in a New York City jail just over a month after his detention.

Barak interviewed Maxwell twice from prison for an upcoming CBS-Paramount Plus documentary.

She was asked whether she and Andrew could be friends after her jail term and replied: “I don’t have an expectation. People who I have been friends with, and very close friends with … I can’t think about what they will want to do or not do.”

The media heiress, whose father was the former Mirror Group proprietor Robert Maxwell, also spoke about the infamous picture of Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre, with her in the background.

Maxwell said she now believed the picture was not “a true image”, having earlier appeared to verify it. In an email to her lawyer in 2015 that was subsequently leaked, she wrote: “It looks real. I think it is.”

The picture, which has been published around the world, had been central to Giuffre’s sex assault lawsuit against the prince. The civil case was settled in February after he paid a financial settlement, thought to be a multimillion-pound sum, to his accuser.

From her prison in Florida, Maxwell told her interviewer: “I don’t recognise that picture and I don’t believe it is a real picture.”

She then claimed her email apparently authenticating the picture was in fact only to confirm that she recognised her own house: “I said ‘it is that image that, whatever it is, I recognise it as my house’.

“But I have come to discover that image I don’t believe is true. And the original has never been produced because it doesn’t exist. I don’t believe that image is a true image.”


Josh Halliday

The GuardianTramp

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