GHISLAINE Maxwell and Prince Andrew shared a “close bond” and may have even dated, an author who wrote a biography of the sex predator has claimed.
Nigel Cawthorne – who wrote Ghislaine Maxwell: The Fall of America’s Most Notorious Socialite – said rumours had been mounting for years around the nature of the pair’s relationship.
But their long-standing friendship became the biggest royal scandal in decades when Andrew was accused of having sex with 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre – something he strongly denies.
It is alleged his old friend Ghislaine trafficked the teen – who was a sex slave for paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – to him at her townhouse in London after a night out at Tramp.
The infamous photo of Andrew with his hand around Virginia’s waist as Ghislaine beams in the background shone a new light of scrutiny on their decades long friendship.
“There’s always gossip about a man and a woman who are seen frequently in each other’s company,” Cawthorne told HOAR Online.
MORE ON PRINCE ANDREW
“They’d been together for an awful long time and it appears she [did] the same favour for Prince Andrew that she did for Jeffrey Epstein,” said Cawthorne – who most recently wrote a biography of Virginia Giuffre.
“In other words, trafficking a young woman to him.”
He said Ghislaine and Andrew had met at university and immediately hit it off and were often seen in each other’s company at public outings.
“It certainly went on for a very long time. They did seem very close,” Cawthorne said.
It comes as Maxwell today faces decades in jail over her instrumental role in a sex trafficking scheme with disgraced multimillionaire paedophile Epstein at the helm.
She may die behind bars – taking Epstein’s dark secret with her to the grave.
“It’s a bit too late for giving up names now,” Cawthorne said referring to the number of high-flying people Epstein rubbed shoulders with at his ‘sex dungeon’ homes.
“Had she cooperated with the authorities in the first place, she could have plea-bargained but I don’t think it’s going to do any good at this point.
“She obviously knows a lot about a lot of important people. Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton. She’s obviously got some beans she could spill because she was around the milieu.”
It has previously been reported that Andrew – often dubbed The Queen’s “favourite” son – was “dreading” the fact his name may be mentioned during Maxwell’s case last year.
Maxwell and Andrew are believed to have known each other for the better part of two decades before she is alleged to have introduced him to Epstein.
She and the American financier are believed to have been dating at the time – and the Duke is believed to have subsequently struck up a friendship with Epstein.
It was a relationship that allegedly saw him make multiple visits to Epstein’s homes and his private island, Little Saint James.
And during this pally period, Epstein and Ghislaine are said to have introduced the royal to the then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts.
She claims she was trafficked to have sex with Andrew.
The Duke settled a lawsuit with Virgina for an estimated £12million earlier this year – but always insisted his innocence.
During his infamous car crash interview on BBC Newsnight with Emily Maitlis, the Prince dropped a few key hints about his friendship with Ghislaine.
He explained he met Epstein through his “girlfriend” – Maxwell – who he had known “since she was at university in the UK”.
The Duke laid out how his relationship with the paedophile was always through the prism of Ghislaine, the daughter of newspaper mogul Robert Maxwell.
Events which Epstein and Maxwell attended – such as at Windsor Castle – were normally arranged through her, with Epstein as the plus one.
And he did not comment on Maxwell’s own alleged involvement in Epstein’s trafficking scheme.
“If there are questions that Ghislaine has to answer, that’s her problem I’m afraid, I’m not in a position to be able to comment one way or the other,” he said.
Andrew did however admit to speaking to her as late as 2019, but said they did not discuss Epstein.
“There wasn’t anything to discuss about him because he wasn’t in the news, you know, it was just… we had moved on,” he said.
They spoke just before Epstein was arrested and subsequently committed suicide, which led to Maxwell going into hiding before her own arrest by the FBI in 2020.
Andrew also said that because of his relationship with Ghislaine it would have been “inevitable” that he met with Epstein at some point.
Ghislaine and Andrew’s friendship is reported to have become more prominent in the early noughties – with him first being spotted with her and Epstein at a tennis tournament at Donald Trump’s resort Mar-a-Lago in February 2000.
Vanity Fair reports that friends claim Andrew changed his lifestyle as he became closer to Maxwell.
“Andrew’s a very poor judge of character, easily impressed,” a source was reported to have said in the Evening Standard.
“He’s gone from this couch potato to man about town, with nothing better to do than go from one holiday to the next.”
It was reported the duo were together at least eight times in the year 2000 – and were seen a various nightspots in London.
Andrew, Epstein, and Maxwell – along with Donald Trump and his then girlfriend Melania – were pictured together in one striking image at Mar-a-Lago in December 2000.
The Prince appears to be walking away, Trump and his wife smile for the camera, with Epstein visible in the background, and Ghislaine off to the side speaking to a woman in a white dress.
Pictures from this period capture the fact Andrew appears to have become firm friends with Ghislaine.
The two were pictured together at the wedding of Aurelia Cecil and Rupert Stephenson at St Michaels and All Angels Church in Compton Chamberlayne in Wiltshire in September 2000.
Andrew was pictured walking alongside Ghislaine at Royal Ascot’s famous Ladies Day in June.
Pictures from February 2000 show Andrew seemingly in conversation with Epstein at Mar-a-Lago.
Other images from the same event showing Ghislaine also was present as she posed along with Epstein and the Trumps.
Andrew was also snapped in October 2000 as a “pimps and hookers” themed bash in New York as he partied with Ghislaine and Heidi Klum.
And in that December, Epstein and Maxwell were also pictured on a pheasant shoot which was also attended by Andrew at the Sandringham Estate.
A year later he was snapped on a wild holiday with Epstein and Maxwell on which he reportedly visited red-light district clubs and partied with topless women.
The Duke of York, who was 40 years old at the time with two young children, was infamously pictured partying with topless women on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand.
Maxwell is also reported to have accompanied him and the Prince and Epstein were reportedly spotted in bars around Patong resort town on the island, including one staffed by semi-naked go-go dancers.
Epstein’s “Madam” was also pictured frollicking on a throne at Buckingham Palace in 2002 after being invited by Prince Andrew.
And meanwhile four years later in 2006, just before he was first publicly accused of sex crimes, Epstein and Maxwell were pictured at Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday bash.
Alongside them was pervert film mogul Harvey Weinstein as they beamed together at Windsor Castle.
And the most infamous picture detailing a link between Andrew and Ghislaine was taken at her London townhouse in 2002.
It shows the Duke with his arm around Virginia Roberts while the socialite smiles in the background – the pic was allegedly taken by Epstein.
Andrew has since suggested the photo is fake.
On Newsnight, he said: “I don’t remember, I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.
“I don’t remember going upstairs in the house because that photograph was taken upstairs and I am not entirely convinced that… I mean that is… that is what I would describe as me in that… in that picture but I can’t… we can’t be certain as to whether or not that’s my hand on her whatever it is, left… left side.”
He added: “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken.”
It was allegedly taken that night that Andrew had sex with the 17-year-old Virginia.
Andrew claims that night he was actually at a Pizza Express in Woking.
Virginia is one of Epstein and Maxwell’s most high profile accusers, but is not one of the four over whom Ghislaine faces charges.
Documents released last year also suggested Andrew contacted Ghislaine in 2015 to ask about Virginia, saying he had “some specific questions to ask”.
Maxwell claimed the two had a conversation in which they both branded her a “liar”.
Ghislaine has also been pictured with Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, with the pair snapped together at an event in December 2003.
Maxwell was found guilty of approaching teenage girls with offers of jobs – such as modelling or as masseurs – before bringing them to Epstein.
Prosecutors allege she and Epstein exploited girls as young as 14.
Prince Andrew’s team declined to comment on the case or his friendship with Ghislaine Maxwell when contacted by HOAR Online.