Ghislaine Maxwell says the famous photograph of Prince Andrew with his sex abuse accuser Virginia Giuffre is “fake”—but a biographer told Newsweek “the public sympathy would remain with Virginia.”

In June 2022, Maxwell was jailed for trafficking girls for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse, and has now given an interview seven months on by telephone to Talk TV from prison.

A clip released by the Rupert Murdoch-owned channel showed the British socialite saying: “It’s a fake. I don’t believe it’s real for a second, in fact I’m sure it’s not. Well, there’s never been an original and further there’s no photograph and I’ve only ever seen a photocopy of it.”

Giuffre, who has previously said she gave the original to the FBI in 2011, sued Prince Andrew in 2021 at a court in New York. The royal settled for an undisclosed sum in March 2022 while consistently denying the allegations.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre Photo
Prince Andrew puts an arm around 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre in a photo that Ghislaine Maxwell [right] says is fake. Giuffre says the picture was taken by Jeffrey Epstein [inset] when she was 17.
Virginia Giuffre and Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

Nigel Cawthorne, who has written biographies about Andrew, Giuffre and Maxwell, told Newsweek that Maxwell’s status as a convicted sex trafficker may mean her words do little to help the prince: “It wouldn’t normally help you in a court would it?”

The author of Prince Andrew: Epstein, Maxwell and the Palace said: “The public sympathy would remain with Virginia, she’s had a pretty rough life all round and she’ll always be seen as the victim.”

There have been reports in U.K. tabloid The Sun suggesting Andrew may consider lodging a new lawsuit against Giuffre after she withdrew a separate lawsuit against Alan Dershowitz.

Cawthorne said: “That case will have given them cause for optimism but it comes down to that photograph for them.

“It was looked at by the FBI and an institute in Stanford that examine these things and there’s no indication that it’s fake.”

Giuffre told the New York federal court she was forced to have sex with Andrew in London, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands while she was a 17-year-old sex trafficking victim and feared for her safety if she refused.

Giuffre previously told BBC Panorama she gave the photograph to the FBI in 2011: “I think the world is getting sick of these ridiculous excuses. It’s a real photo. I’ve given it to the FBI for its investigation and it’s an authentic photo. There’s a date on the back of it from when it was printed.”

When Andrew settled the case a joint statement by the two sides read: “Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew have reached an out of court settlement.

“The parties will file a stipulated dismissal upon Ms Giuffre’s receipt of the settlement (the sum of which is not being disclosed).

“Prince Andrew intends to make a substantial donation to Ms. Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights.

“Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.

“It is known that Jeffrey Epstein trafficked countless young girls over many years. Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others.

“He pledges to demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the evils of sex trafficking, and by supporting its victims.”

Jack Royston is Newsweek‘s chief royal correspondent based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.

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