·Yahoo UK royal reporter
Mon, 23 January 2023 at 6:03 pm GMT
A photo of Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home has become a renewed topic of discussion once again following Maxwell’s claim that the photograph is a fake.
The image – which shows Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s waist while Maxwell watches from the background – has long been a point of controversy.
The Duke of York initially questioned its authenticity in his 2019 Newsnight interview, which was widely seen as a public relations car crash and led him to step back from life as a working royal.
Maxwell herself is currently serving a 20-year custodial sentence in the US after being found guilty on five counts of sex trafficking.
In the video interview with Jeremy Kyle for TalkTV that airs on Monday night – Maxwell’s first on-screen interview from behind bars – she describes the photo as a fake, saying: “I don’t believe it’s real for a second.”
Virginia Giuffre, (née Roberts) was a victim of Maxwell and billionaire businessman Jeffrey Epstein, and has alleged that Andrew sexually assaulted her three times — in London, New York and Epstein’s private island Little St. James.
Andrew has strenuously denied these claims. Last year, he settled a civil case brought by Giuffre out of court for a reported £12 million. The Telegraph has recently reported that the Duke of York is seeking a path to overturn this settlement.
Yahoo UK looks at what each party has said about the picture.
What has Virgina Giuffre said about the photo?
Giuffre submitted the original photograph as evidence to the FBI that supports her claims in 2011, and consistently maintained it is genuine and was taken at Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in central London.
She told the BBC’s Panorama show that the photo is “authentic”.
“I think the world is getting sick of these ridiculous excuses”, she said. “It’s a real photo. I’ve given it to the FBI for their investigation and it’s an authentic photo. There’s a date on the back of it from when it was printed.”
Her position has been backed up by photographer Michael Thomas who took the first copy of the image, and who told Panorama: “There’s no way that photo is fake.”
Equally, an ex-boyfriend of Giuffre’s from 2001 — Tony Figueroa — has confirmed in an affidavit that he saw the photo of Giuffre and Andrew when they were together and that she told him the same story about her encounter with the Duke as she maintains today: that she was forced to have sex with him.
What has Prince Andrew said about the photo?
Prince Andrew discussed the photograph of him, Giuffre and Maxwell during his interview with Newsnight, during which he said he had “absolutely no memory of that photograph being taken”.
He also said that “investigations” over the photo’s authenticity had taken place but had not been able to come up with a definitive conclusion.
He said: “From the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph. So it’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.”
He also disputed the photo because he was wearing “travelling clothes” which he wouldn’t tend to do in London and that as a member of House of Windsor he wouldn’t engage in “public displays of affection”.
“As a member of the Royal Family, and I have a photograph taken and I take very, very few photographs, I am not one to, as it were, hug and public displays of affection are not something that I do.”
He also acknowledge that “nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored”.
What has Ghislaine Maxwell said about the photo?
In a promotional clip for her interview with Talk TV — which is owned by Murdoch’s News UK — the convicted sex offender and disgraced socialite echoed Andrew’s doubts.
“It’s a fake. I don’t believe it’s real for a second, in fact I’m sure it’s not”, she said in the excerpt of the interview.
Maxwell also reiterated Andrew’s claim that without seeing the original copy of the image it cannot be verified: “Well, there’s never been an original and further there’s no photograph, and I’ve only ever seen a photocopy of it.”