In an extraordinary interview from behind prison walls, Ghislaine Maxwell speaks for the first time about her ‘dear friend’ Prince Andrew, expressing sadness at his own catastrophic fall from grace.
‘Yes, I follow what is happening to him,’ Maxwell confirms. ‘He is paying such a price for the association with Jeffrey Epstein. I care about him, and I feel so bad for him.’
It is rare for American prison authorities to authorise interviews – especially when the profile of the inmate is so high.
The Daily Mail author Daphne Barak spoke to 60-year-old Maxwell face-to-face inside the Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York during the summer, and again just a few weeks ago after she was moved to her current jail, Tallahassee’s Federal Correctional Institute.
This is where she will serve a 20-year sentence for her role in helping Epstein to abuse young women.
Barak asked her about one of the most notorious photographs in the world – one which has haunted Prince Andrew.
It shows the Prince with his hand around the waist of a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts – now Giuffre – with Maxwell beaming to one side. The man behind the camera, clicking the shutter, is disgraced financier and pedophile Epstein.
Andrew has insisted that the photo has in some way been doctored. Maxwell, too, believes the picture must be fake – despite experts, commentators and Ms Giuffre herself maintaining the picture is real and unaltered. Whether the Duke of York will thank Maxwell for her intervention on the issue is hard to say.
Where her company was once eagerly sought by leading figures in society, Maxwell – a convicted sex offender – is now little short of a pariah. It is something she herself acknowledges, and articulates well, pointing out that any association with her name is, at best, a black mark. At worst, she says, it has turned her into a ‘wicked witch’.
‘There are many people who have been impacted by this story who have been cancelled, some friends of mine who never even met Epstein lost their jobs,’ she acknowledges. ‘People who literally had nothing to do with him whatsoever have been cancelled.
‘So I think for all those people, including some of them who never met him, it’s been a very heavy price that has been paid due to the cancel culture. So, you know, from that perspective, I think it’s been very difficult for a lot of people.’
No more so than for 62-year-old Prince Andrew, of course, who had once been a regular companion.
When Barak pointed out that the Prince’s lawyers reject the suggestion that Maxwell and Andrew were close, she accepts it with equanimity. ‘I accept that this friendship could not survive my conviction,’ she says.
Maxwell continues to maintain her innocence even in the face of her conviction, arguing that she was effectively demonised before she had even stood trial.
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