For Prince Andrew, it appears that some old habits die hard — even if those habits led to his international downfall and ejection from his official role in the British royal family.
The Duke of York’s habit of being friends and staying in contact with Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly continues, even though the one-time U.K. socialite is under FBI investigation for her alleged role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation.
Laura Goldman, a longtime friend of Maxwell’s, revealed to The Sun that the socialite, while in hiding and protected by “wealthy connections,” continues to text and call her friends.
Maxwell, 57, also is confident that she has enough “dirt” on enough powerful people that she’ll be able to evade prosecution and eventually clear her family name and return to her high-society life, Goldman said.
As for Andrew, Maxwell still “adores” him, Goldman said. After all, Maxwell credits the 59-year-old duke with helping her to return to high-society after the controversial 1991 death of her father, publishing magnate Robert Maxwell. Maxwell also reportedly introduced Andrew to Epstein, whom she dated for several years in the 1990s.
However, Goldman said that Maxwell is not about to come out of hiding right now and offer up any information that could clear Andrew’s name, which has been tarnished by allegations that he had sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged underaged “sex slaves.”
Goldman said: “(Maxwell) adores Prince Andrew, they’re still in touch now, but she won’t come out of hiding, even for him.
“She’d only reveal herself if it was in her best interest, which it isn’t yet,” Goldman continued. “So she’ll be staying out of the limelight for now and leaving him to fend for himself, despite her huge affection for him and the fact that she could have taken some of the heat off him recently.”
The Sun reported in early December that Andrew had a secret meeting with Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in June and has kept in constant contact with her by phone and email — even as the scandal escalated.
“They talk regularly.” a source told The Sun. “If he wasn’t in the spotlight at the moment he would have found a way to meet up with her.”
Another report by The Sun in mid-December said that Maxwell was thinking about coming out of hiding to give an interview and say that Giuffre is lying about Epstein having forced her to have sex with the prince three times in 2001.
“She will do a sit-down interview with a big U.S. network and defend the duke,” the source said. Maxwell would tell the network that Andrew and Giuffre never had intercourse. Andrew has denied that he had any kind of relationship with Giuffre.
But The Sun said there was no proof that such an interview was in the works, and Goldman told the tabloid this week that Maxwell is in no rush to come forward.
After Epstein was arrested on new sex trafficking charges in July and then died by a reported suicide in a Manhattan jail on Aug. 10, public scrutiny of Epstein’s operation, Maxwell’s alleged role in it and Andrew’s possible complicity intensified.
Maxwell went into hiding after Epstein’s death. Andrew managed to maintain the public support of the queen and to continue his royal duties for a few months.
Then, in November, he gave his disastrous interview with the BBC, during which he came off as arrogant, out-of-touch, dishonest, unsympathetic to Epstein’s victims and oblivious to the implications of being friends with the late financier.
Within days, charities that relied on his royal patronage and corporations that supported his Pitch@Palace entrepreneurial endeavor sought to distance themselves. Finally, his mother, reportedly with some strong encouragement from Prince Charles, asked Andrew to step down from his official duties. Andrew did so and acknowledged that the Epstein scandal has become “a major disruption” to his family.
If there’s any silver lining for Andrew right now it is that the FBI currently has no plans to interview him, according to the BBC, citing a Reuters report. The charges brought against Epstein in July alleged he was running a “vast network” of underage girls — some as young as 14 – for sex.
— Daily Star (@dailystar) December 27, 2019
Now that Epstein is dead, the FBI wants to talk to people who may have facilitated Epstein’s alleged actions. Maxwell fits that category but Andrew, somehow, does not, the BBC reported.
Still, if the FBI is looking into Maxwell, it seems that it would be sensible for Andrew to keep his distance from her — so he won’t be drawn into the FBI probe or have his name continually associated with hers.
Maybe the duke is inspired by Maxwell’s reported confidence that she can beat the charges and even prove to the world that she did nothing wrong. Meanwhile, Goldman told The Sun that Maxwell’s “wealthy connections” also are covering what must be her hefty legal expenses.
“She can stay out of the public eye as long as she wants,” Goldman said. “She’s doesn’t think that she did anything wrong.”
Goldman also told The Sun that Maxwell was somewhat relieved by Epstein’s death.
“It may have placed her more in the spotlight but at least he couldn’t turn on her,” Goldman said.