The image of British socialist Ghislaine Maxwell sitting alongside “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey, who also faced allegations of sexual misconduct, apparently at the Queen’s residence in London in 2002, was published Saturday by the British newspaper Daily Telegraph.
CNN could not confirm why Maxwell and Spacey were at the palace. The newspaper reported that the couple were invited to the throne room by Prince Andrew, who came under public pressure to explain his relationship with Epstein and the allegations of one of his accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre alleged that she was coerced into sex with the prince and other men when she was a minor. They all denied these allegations.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the photo. A spokesperson for Prince Andrew also declined to comment.
Prince Andrew was a friend of Epstein and has been photographed with Giuffre and Maxwell in the past. In an interview with the BBC in November, Prince Andrew said he had never met Giuffre and suggested that the photo of him and Giuffre may have been tampered with.
CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster said the throne is a symbol of the authority of a monarch, and “no one else has the right to sit on it. This would be seen as a sign of disrespect for the Queen and the country. ”
Sitting on the throne at Buckingham Palace is considered less an insult than being on the “senior throne” at the nearby Saint James Palace, he said. No one except the monarch ever sat on the coronation chair at Westminster Abbey, as far as we know.
Maxwell, the girlfriend and alleged accomplice of the alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested Thursday morning and charged by federal prosecutors in New York for his alleged role in the recruitment, grooming and sexual abuse of underage girls from the age of 14 as part of a long criminal enterprise.
Maxwell, 58, and Epstein, who died by apparent suicide in August while awaiting trial, are accused of luring the girls into a series of residences, including his Upper East Side mansion, his Palm Beach estate and his vast Santa Fe ranch like London, England, where she has a house.
An American lawyer has since urged Prince Andrew, who was a friend of Epstein’s, to provide information to the investigation. Audrey Strauss, acting US lawyer for the New York Southern District, said at a press conference that the authorities would “welcome” a statement by the Duke, who is the second son of Queen Elizabeth.
In response, a source close to Andrew said, “The Duke’s team remains puzzled since we have contacted the DOJ twice in the past month, and to date we have received no response. ”
A friend of Maxwell’s told the BBC on Saturday that the mundane would “never” transmit information about the royal in Epstein’s investigation.
Former investment banker Laura Goldman, who said she knew Maxwell after moving to the United States, said she “should” go to plead with prosecutors.
When asked on Radio 4 Today if Maxwell would speak about the Duke in the investigation, Goldman said, “She always told me that she would never say anything about him.
“I think she felt he was her friend and she was never going to say anything about him. ”
CNN’s Erica Orden, Kara Scannell, Max Foster and Samantha Beech contributed to this report.