Prince Andrew secretly met his friend Ghislaine Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in early June – just a fortnight after US prosecutors announced they were reopening their inquiry into the activities of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, their mutual friend.
Ms Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been accused of procuring underage girls for Epstein. She denies the claims.
Andrew, 59, met Maxwell on June 6 inside the Prince’s private Palace quarters, and she is said to have brought four other people along with her.
‘They were all smartly dressed and looked very official… They stayed for about two hours.
‘It seems very likely they would have been discussing the fallout from Epstein’s misdemeanours and what they planned to do about it,’ a source told
Prince Andrew secretly met his friend Ghislaine Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in early June – just a fortnight after US prosecutors announced they were reopening their inquiry into the activities of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, their mutual friend. (Above, the pair at a wedding in Wiltshire in 2000)
Andrew and Maxwell’s Palace meeting came shortly before she set off on the Cash & Rocket charity motoring rally from London. The 57-year-old British socialite shared car number 28 with Nettie Mason, the wife of Pink Floyd rock star Nick Mason, for the duration of the event
Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been accused of procuring underage girls for Epstein. She denies the claims. (Pictured, Maxwell with Jeffrey Epstein in New York in 2005)
Andrew, 59, met Maxwell on June 6 inside the Prince’s private Palace quarters, and she is said to have brought four other people along with her
Andrew and Maxwell’s Palace meeting came shortly before she set off on the Cash & Rocket charity motoring rally from London.
Maxwell joined a host of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Chloe Green for the glitzy all-woman supercar rally, which finished four days later in Monaco.
She was conspicuously absent from publicity photographs taken during the high-profile event, and all reference to her was deleted from the rally’s website today.
The 57-year-old British socialite shared car number 28 with Nettie Mason, the wife of Pink Floyd rock star Nick Mason, for the duration of the event.
A week before the meeting, the Duke of York returned from a tour of Canada, on May 29.
Prince Andrew is already planning a way to get back onto the royal gravy train while his elder brother, Prince Charles, has every intention of making his expulsion permanent. The pair are pictured together at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012
A source said that they did not see how the Prince of Wales, pictured walking in Kaikoura this week, could ‘ever’ let his brother resume royal duties
Gathering storm of US investigation into Jeffrey Epstein before Prince Andrew met Ghislaine Maxwell
February: The US Department of Justice reveals its intention to review a plea deal given to Jeffrey Epstein. He had escaped sex trafficking charges in 2008 after a secret arrangement with prosecutors saw him admit to a lesser charge of soliciting a minor for prostitution. US lawmakers call for him to face federal criminal charges for sex trafficking minors.
March: Virginia Roberts Giuffre has her appeal heard in relation to the district judge’s refusal to unseal documents relating to a 2017 defamation settlement between her and Maxwell. Giuffre’s testifies that she was directed by Maxwell to give erotic massages and engage in sexual activities with Prince Andrew, among others.
April: A new accuser named Maria Farmer files a sworn affidavit in A federal court in New York in which she alleges that she and her 15-year-old sister were sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell in 1996.
June: Prince Andrew and Maxwell meet in London on or about June 5. A day later she goes on a charity rally to Monaco.
July: Epstein is arrested in New Jersey on July 6. Two days later he is charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to traffic minors for sex.
August: Epstein is found dead in his cell in New York on August 10.
On June 1, he attended a salute of the Grenadier Guards at the Palace and a reception at Wellington Barracks.
Then, on June 3, Andrew met Donald Trump at the Palace for the State banquet and had breakfast with him at St James’s Palace the following day.
The Duke was absent from D-Day’s 75th anniversary in Portsmouth on June 5, while on June 6, there were no royal engagements.
During his disastrous BBC interview last week, Andrew was asked when he last saw Ms Maxwell. ‘It was earlier this year funnily enough, in the summer, in the spring, summer… She was here doing some rally,’ he replied.
The car rally is believed to be her last visit to the UK.
Meanwhile, the Duke of York intends to make a grand comeback after clearing his name, The Mail on Sunday has been told.
But sources say that his brazen self-belief, which Palace insiders believe is misplaced, risks putting him on a potential collision course with the Prince of Wales.
And while Andrew’s statement said he was stepping back from public duties for the ‘foreseeable future’, it is understood that Charles has every intention of making his expulsion permanent.
A Royal source said Andrew believes that he can repair his shattered image simply by speaking to the FBI about the Epstein scandal. That view has raised eyebrows among senior Palace courtiers, who fear he can never regain public trust.
Of Andrew’s planned comeback, a source said: ‘I can’t see that Charles would ever let it happen. And many at the Palace just want him out of the scene now – end of. It’s effectively an early retirement.’
After the Duke of York was sacked from the royal family the Queen was seen taking a horse ride with him around Windsor to signal her support for her ‘favourite son’
The Duke of York was photographed as he drove out of Buckingham Palace earlier this week
His ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was also seen being driven into Buckingham Palace this week
The permanent departure of Andrew would assist Charles’s aim of creating a more streamlined and cost-effective monarchy when he becomes King.
Other Royal families are already tightening their belts. In Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf recently removed five of his grandchildren from ‘the firm’.
Andrew is said to be keen for his representatives to make an approach to the FBI and is thought to be discussing the matter with his legal team. ‘The feeling is there is no other way he can clear his name unless the FBI say there are no charges to face,’ the source said.
‘The only way he can do that is to volunteer to talk under oath. He has said that he is innocent of what he is accused of and wants to clear his name.’
And while the Duke has ‘understandably been devastated that it has come to this’, insiders say he is ‘naively positive’ that he can survive the storm.
‘Under the circumstances he was in good spirits,’ said a friend who spoke to him in recent days.
The royal’s resignation came after a car crash BBC Newsnight interview broadcast last week
A Palace source added: ‘He stepped back because it proved disruptive with all of the allegations over his friendship but if… that gets resolved, it clears the way. Putting a time-frame on that is a different matter.’
Meanwhile, there is continued confusion surrounding Andrew’s role at Pitch@Palace, the platform for entrepreneurs he founded.
Barclays became the latest firm to withdraw support from the scheme, even though the bank’s sponsorship was not up for renewal for about ten months. While some say Andrew is clinging on to his pet project, others insist he has already been forced to stand aside.
Buckingham Palace last night said the Duke ‘will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties’ – but the project must be moved outside of the Palace.
As of last month, there were plans for global expansion but with dwindling sponsors and no Palace to provide the glamour, many doubt the venture will survive for much longer.
Last night, loyal friends were still continuing to come forward to defend the Prince in the media, as they have done many times before. ‘I’ve been in a sauna with him – he has never sweated,’ one said. ‘He doesn’t party. He is not a party person – only drinks water and tea.
‘He goes to bed at 11.30pm and wakes up at 7.30am, seven days a week. If you translate what he said in the interview, he is very sorry.’
Nevertheless, the Duke remains under intense scrutiny. Yesterday it emerged he had stayed at the lavish Caribbean estate of fashion designer Peter Nygard, who was accused of sexually harassing three female employees.
Once dubbed the Canadian Hugh Hefner, Nygard settled the cases out of court weeks before Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah visited his home in the Bahamas.