Royal Corner

Is Time Up For Prince Andrew?

Ghislaine Maxwell is in custody. Prince Andrew must now answer the questions needed to help bring justice, but there are others who need to start talking too.

JULY 3rd, 2020

Ghislaine Maxwell pictured with ex-boyfriend and convicted paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein - © Getty Images


he unexpected and shocking announcement of the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell sent shockwaves across the world yesterday. The former socialite and girlfriend of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein was arrested after hiding out in a spectacular mansion in Bradford, New Hampshire. Charged with facilitating the sexual abuse of underaged girls by Epstein between 1994 to 1997, Maxwell is facing a hefty prison sentence – if not the rest of her life behind bars. Yet, whilst the former socialite will now face long-awaited justice, the bigger question remains who will she take down with her?

There is no denying that Maxwell and Epstein navigated privileged and powerful social circles. Across the landscapes of politics, Hollywood, business and Royalty; they held immeasurable influence and authority. This position provided a sense of untouchability and superiority which resulted in their depraved and abusive actions going unheard – even when their victims were screaming at the top of their lungs.

Andrew pictured with Epstein in New York in 2010, 2 years after the billionaire's conviction for sexual abuse. - © Getty Images

With the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, there will be many of those powerful figures tangled up in the disturbing web of her crimes and sex trafficking – some we already know, others we don’t – who will watching proceedings very carefully. But if recent reports are correct, then the news that Maxwell is willing to cooperate with officials and “name names”, will be causing these figures to start sweating (except Prince Andrew of course).

Across the detailed charges, what perhaps was most stark was the breadth of the locations the crimes took place. New York City, Palm Beach, Santa Fe and London were all listed as places where underaged girls were groomed, abused or exploited for the pleasure of Epstein, Maxwell and other unknown abusers. The latter location of London could bode problematic for Prince Andrew, who is facing his own allegations of abuse by Virginia Giuffre.

The Prince has had a long-established connection with the billionaire Epstein, and both were photographed together in New York City in 2010 – two years after Epstein was convicted for abuse. The photo has haunted Andrew ever since, though one other image has been much more concerning.

With his arms draped around a teenage Virginia Giuffre (then Roberts), Andrew is also pictured alongside the woman now facing life behind bars, Ghislaine Maxwell. The photo was taken at Ghislaine’s home in London, and the photographer is believed to be Jeffrey Epstein. It is potent evidence of the link between Maxwell, Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Epstein. These four individuals are key players in the unfolding scandal, one; the victim, three; the alleged abusers. Prince Andrew denies any accusation of sexual abuse and has resolutely maintained he knew nothing of Epstein and Maxwell’s crimes, but irrespective of this, pressure is now piling on the prince to provide assistance with the Department of Justice – who are leading the case.

Former President Bill Clinton with Ghislaine Maxwell boarding a private yet in leaked images - © AP

In the story of Prince Andrew’s involvement with the Ghislaine Maxwell scandal, it is here where things become confusing. After the announcement that the DOJ had yet to hear any offers of help from Andrew, the prince’s legal team stated that this statement was incorrect and on two occasions he had offered to be interviewed by authorities. What was not confirmed by Andrew’s team was the finer details of the offer. How would he be interviewed? Would he travel to the U.S. to face questioning? Or would authorities fly into the UK instead? One detail we do know is Andrew’s legal team’s accusation that the DOJ had broken their promise of anonymity in speaking to the press.

In a continuing war of the words, after the announcement of Maxwell’s arrest, a source close to the prince stated that he remained bemused that authorities had still not responded to his initial offer.

Although the back-and-forth between Andrew and the DOJ continues, with the charges against Ghislaine Maxwell now public and her remaining in custody, the prince’s options on anonymity and silence are at an end. He must answer the vital questions needed to bring justice for the countless young women whose bravery in speaking out sets an example to us all. That responsibility lies with Andrew and no one else, not the UK Government nor The Royal Family. These are the prince’s alleged discretions, and the consequences are his to face alone. If he remains silent then Maxwell could well speak for him, and it has become increasingly clear that she is the woman with all the answers to this case.

There will be continued focus on the decisions Prince Andrew and his legal team make. But whilst the media may focus on a pompous, pampered and arrogant prince – one I’m sure many will like to see served an almighty slice of humble pie – we must remember the victims. These are women who as young girls were systemically abused by countless powerful figures.

Let us not forget that this case is rooted deeper than the poisonous chasms of sexual deprivation and climbs higher than the echelons of a royal prince. Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell had many friends – powerful friends – and the same level of focus and determination for them to speak must be pursued. Epstein had close links to the Clintons, President Donald Trump, the high-powered law professor, Alan Dershowitz, Leslie Wexner – the billionaire behind the Victoria’s Secret chain. British politicians Peter Mendelson and Tony Blair, alongside businessman Richard Branson were also friends of the convicted paedophile.

The infamous photograph showing Prince Andrew with his accuser Virginia Giuffre(now Roberts) and Ghislaine Maxwell. It is believed that Jeffrey Epstein took this photo. - © Virginia Roberts

Hollywood, which has already had its fair share of scandal with sexual abuse, is also fiercely linked with Maxwell and Epstein. Woody Allen, Mick Jagger, fellow convicted sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein, Alec Baldwin, Ralph Fiennes, Courtney Love are but a selection of the vast contacts at their disposal. And whilst no one is accusing these figures of any crimes, as some were mere acquaintances, it does paint a disturbing picture on the reach and the level of which Maxwell and Epstein had embedded themselves into the social construct of power.

Ghislaine Maxwell is a woman who actively eradicated the innocent and untarnished dignity of countless young women who not only trusted her but also feared her. After decades of hiding her sordid crimes and months of her evading capture, her and Epstein’s victims finally have a real shot at justice. There are many questions to be answered, and equally there will be many powerful players who will be fighting to ensure they remain unanswered. But the coming months could well be a defining moment in the fight against sexual abuse. If Ghislaine Maxwell speaks as openly as we are being led to be believed, then the whole abusive system could come crumbling down.

So yes, Prince Andrew needs to talk, and yes, the entire world will be gripped on every word Ghislaine Maxwell says. Yet let us never forget that it was those brave women who risked it all to ensure the voices of those who continue to be unheard, have a voice loud enough to no longer be ignored. It was those women who valiantly shined the light on the darkest parts of a crime when those in power refused to. When justice is served, it will be because of those who were once voiceless speaking out unafraid, and not the words of a socialite captured by her own abusive lies.

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