Ghislaine Maxwell calls Prince Andrew a 'dear friend'

Ghislaine Maxwell calls Prince Andrew a ‘dear friend’: Just when the Duke hoped the dust had settled on his links with paedophile Epstein, Ghislaine’s emotional jail cell tribute risks scuppering his dream of rehabilitation

  • Prince Andrew has been dragged back into Jeffrey Epstein sex-abuse scandal 
  • Paedophile’s conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell hailed Duke of York a ‘dear friend’
  • Maxwell, jailed for child sex-trafficking, didn’t deny her and Duke were a couple
  • She also revealed a fellow inmate plotted to murder her while she was sleeping

Prince Andrew was last night dragged back into the Jeffrey Epstein sex-abuse scandal after the paedophile’s conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell hailed the Duke of York as a ‘dear friend’.

Her bombshell comments – in a world-exclusive prison interview with The Mail on Sunday – contradict Andrew’s denial to a US court that they had been close.

The intervention by Maxwell, 60 – a convicted sex-trafficker described in court as a ‘sophisticated predator’ – is a devastating blow to the Duke’s hopes of returning to public life after he was effectively cast out of the Royal Family this year.

Maxwell, who was convicted of helping Epstein abuse teenage girls, failed to deny suggestions that she and Andrew had been a couple, and declared: ‘I care about him.’

Her remarks come as the MoS reveals a new photograph today of the disgraced former socialite taken at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in New York this year before she was moved to a prison in Florida to serve her 20-year sentence.

Ghislaine Maxwell has dragged Prince Andrew back into the Jeffrey Epstein scandal after reffering to him as a ‘dear friend’ in an exclusive interview from behind prison walls. Pictured: The pair together at Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot in 2000

Maxwell, who was convicted of helping Epstein (pictured together) abuse teenage girls, failed to deny suggestions that she and Andrew had been a couple

Maxwell was prepared to discuss her friendships with some of the rich and powerful men connected to her and Epstein, including former President Clinton (all pictured together)

In a string of further revelations, she:

  • Claimed a photo taken of the Prince and accuser Virginia Roberts ‘is not real’ and that there are ‘over 50 problems’ with it’;
  • Told how a fellow inmate had plotted to murder her while she was sleeping;
  • Described her ‘special friendship’ with President Bill Clinton, whom she claimed was ‘another victim’ of association with Epstein;
  • Spoke of her gratitude to Donald Trump for wishing her well after her arrest, saying his comments gave her a ‘big boost’;
  • Complained she has been portrayed as a ‘wicked witch’ Disney character and accused the media of ‘monstrous inaccuracies’;
  • Disclosed that she is crammed into a tiny cell with three other inmates and told of the ‘indignity’ of being put on suicide watch.

Prince Andrew, 62, was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages in January as he fought allegations that he abused Ms Roberts, one of Epstein’s victims, as a teenager in London, Manhattan, and the US Virgin Islands.

He has repeatedly and vehemently denied the claims. He settled out of court with Ms Roberts, who now uses her married name Giuffre, for an undisclosed sum but made no admission of guilt.

A legal document submitted to a US court in January by the Duke’s lawyers contained 41 separate denials of allegations made by Ms Roberts, including her claim that ‘Prince Andrew was a close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell’.

But in her MoS interview, Maxwell spoke in glowing terms of her friendship with the Duke. ‘I feel so bad for him,’ said the disgraced former socialite, who has known Andrew since she was a student at Oxford University in the 1980s.

‘Yes, I follow what is happening to him. He is paying such a price for the association [with Jeffrey Epstein]. I consider him a dear friend… I care about him.’

Bombshell comments by Maxwell about their friendship contradict Andrew’s denial to a US court that they had been close 

Prince Andrew has always denied claims that he abused Virginia Roberts, one of Epstein’s victims, but settled out of court with her

Quizzed on the denial by Andrew’s lawyers that they were close friends, Maxwell said: ‘I accept that this friendship could not survive my conviction.’ 

She dismissed a photograph, first revealed by this newspaper, of the Prince with his arm around Ms Roberts at Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, Central London, in March 2001, saying: ‘I don’t recognise that picture and I don’t believe it is a real picture. There’s so many things wrong with it. There is no original and there isn’t a true picture and there are that many other things besides that I cannot hardly get into… I don’t know how many points there are, but there are over 50 problems with the picture.’

Earlier this year, Euan Rellie, a former friend of Maxwell’s, told ITV he believed she and Andrew ‘had probably been girlfriend and boyfriend in the past’.

Asked about press reports that they were ‘like a couple, an item’, Maxwell said she would not address such speculation until after the appeal against her conviction. ‘I have read and seen and heard and had reported to me so many monstrous inaccuracies that I can’t start to pick apart all of them. If I pick apart one and then don’t address all the others, it’s going to say, ‘Well, she said no to this, what about all those others?’ I’m not going to discuss anything of that nature until after the appeal.’

She has been in jail since July 2020 when more than 20 armed FBI agents raided her 156-acre, £800,000 New Hampshire home.

 Maxwell, pictured with Epstein, complained she has been portrayed as a ‘wicked witch’ Disney character and accused the media of ‘monstrous inaccuracies’

The MoS interviewed her on June 22 this year at the MDC, six days before she was sentenced, and then weeks later after she was moved to the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, a low-security jail in Florida.

She was prepared to discuss her friendships with some of the rich and powerful men connected to her and Epstein, including former President Clinton.

‘It was a special friendship, which continued over the years,’ she said of Clinton. ‘We had lots in common. I feel bad that he is another victim, only because of his association [with Epstein].’

She also spoke of her gratitude to former President Trump, who bestowed his good wishes on her after her arrest.

‘I was very grateful when he wished me well. He got bad media for it, but he dared while others didn’t. It gave me a big boost.’

Maxwell believes the image taken of Prince Andrew with his arm around then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts (above) as she smiles in the background is a fake

Maxwell said the food at the MDC was ‘truly terrible’ and she was once so hungry she ate Vaseline. She is now in a cell measuring 10ft by 8ft that is too small for her and her three cellmates to all stand up in. ‘It’s very far from a cushy country club,’ she said.

After Epstein killed himself as he awaited trial, prison bosses put her on suicide watch prior to her sentencing. Maxwell, who said she had never contemplated taking her own life, described wearing an anti-suicide smock – a long tunic made of thick nylon – adding: ‘They strip you of any remaining shred of dignity that you have. They have you with no clothes, and they put you in a suicide smock, which has Velcro straps on it. So there’s nothing to protect your modesty.’

The MoS revealed in June that a fellow inmate at the MDC had bragged she was going to murder Maxwell, claiming that there was a $1 million bounty on her head. Maxwell this weekend confirmed that a woman had threatened to murder her as she slept.

Maxwell now works in the prison’s legal library, where she helps other inmates with their cases.

Prince Andrew declined to comment last night.

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