Disgraced former socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has claimed in a jailhouse interview with a U.K. broadcaster that a decades-old photograph of Prince Andrew with his sexual abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre is “fake.”
Maxwell, a friend to British royalty, is imprisoned in Florida after her conviction and 20-year sentence for helping late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse girls.
Giuffre has claimed she was trafficked by the pair to, among others, Andrew, King Charles III’s younger brother.
The 39-year-old sued the discredited royal in a United States court, claiming they had sex in London when she was 17 and a minor under U.S law.
He settled the sexual assault lawsuit at considerable cost last year, sparing him the public humiliation of a trial.
The prince, 62, has not been criminally charged and has continued to deny the accusations.
But he stepped back from royal duties and was stripped of his military titles amid a public outcry over the reported $16.3 million settlement.
A photograph of Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s waist and Maxwell standing next to them — said to have been taken in London in 2001 — is seen as crucial to the claim against the prince.
But in her U.S. federal prison interview with TalkTV, set to air in the U.K. on Monday evening, Maxwell, who has known him for decades, is adamant the image is not genuine.
“It’s a fake. I don’t believe it’s real for a second, in fact I’m sure it’s not,” she states. “There’s never been an original and further there is no photograph. I’ve only ever seen a photocopy of it.”
The late Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son has insisted he had never met Giuffre, and in a disastrous 2019 BBC interview also appeared to question the photo’s authenticity.
“I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested,” he told the broadcaster at the time. “It’s a photograph of a photograph of a photograph … Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored.”
The comments by Maxwell, who is appealing her U.S. conviction, come as British newspapers said Sunday that Andrew will bid to overturn the costly settlement he agreed with Giuffre almost a year ago.
It follows her dropping a separate abuse claim against celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
The Sun reported Andrew was consulting U.S. lawyers Andrew Brettler and Blair Berk and hopes to force a retraction or even an apology, which it added could pave the way for a royal rehabilitation.
“I can tell you with confidence that the Prince Andrew team is now considering legal options,” a “well-placed source” told the tabloid.
A representative for Andrew could not immediately be reached for comment.
Under a reported gagging clause in the settlement, Giuffre has been unable to talk publicly about the claim, but that is said to be set to end next month.
In a previous jailhouse interview for a special that aired on Paramount+, Maxwell also cast doubt on the well-known photo — even though Maxwell had previously indicated in an email to Dershowitz that the photo was real.
In that interview, Maxwell said that “meeting Epstein was the greatest mistake of my life.”
“If I could go back today, I would avoid meeting him, and I would say that that would be the greatest mistake I’ve ever made, and I would make different choices for where I would work,” Maxwell said.
Asked if she feels like a victim of Epstein herself, Maxwell said, “I don’t particularly like the word victim. It’s one that should be used very sparingly because, you know, today everybody is a victim of something.”