Andrew is in the list: & # 39; Friends & # 39; could say that the photo that the prince pursued for years is a fake
For her Australian neighbors, the American accent was the only thing that caught the eye of the light, blond mother of three. Otherwise, "Gina" or "Ginny", as she was known to them, was simply a "Central Coast mom" enjoying her new life on the ocean in New South Wales.
Only later would they discover that the very ordinary life of Virginia Giuffre hid an extraordinary past.
On a bookshelf in the three-bedroom bungalow that she shared with her husband, there was a small, white envelope with a collection of approximately 10-year-old photos that documented her teenage years.
One of the photos of her parties and horse riding was a single 7 x 5 inch photo that was taken in early 2001 when Virginia Roberts – as she was before she got married – was 17.
Dressed in sparkling embroidered jeans and a pink singlet specially purchased for the occasion, the teenager looks old. But while she smiles broadly in front of the camera, there is an underlying tension in her posture, an arm uncomfortable against her hip.
Given the circumstances in which she claims it was taken, and given the other people in the photo, any nervousness is perfectly understandable.
Behind Roberts, aside, is a smiling Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of shameful media magnate Robert Maxwell.
And then there is the older man who holds his arm around Roberts & # 39; waist, the fingers of his left hand touching the bare skin of the teenager's diaphragm.
The photo that haunts him: Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of Virginia Roberts. While she smiles broadly in front of the camera, there is an underlying tension in her posture, an arm uncomfortable against her hip
Same shirt and cufflinks: other photos show that Andrew preferred at that time. A few months earlier he was photographed and left the Chinese white club of London in almost the same clothing (photo)
It is of course Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son, who was 41 when the photo was taken. By that time divorced from Sarah Ferguson, his oldest daughter Beatrice would have been 13 – only four years younger than Roberts.
His young companion had asked for the photo as a reminder of the moment when she met a real prince.
The reflection of the flash in the window behind her helped unclear who took the photo, but the Daily Mail can reveal that it was Jeffrey Epstein.
It would take ten years before the photo's existence was revealed – the Mail published this Sunday in 2011 after it found Roberts in Australia.
The newspaper investigated reports that the FBI was planning to open an investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers by the American multi-millionaire who had admitted to requesting sex from girls over 14 years of age.
At that time, few would have known much about those involved in the photo, apart from Prince Andrew. Today it's a different story. And, just like that photo, hanging around the Duke of York like an albatross, it's a story that won't go away.
Because that image preceded what California-born Roberts claims it was the first of a number of sexual encounters with the prince.
She claimed that Maxwell had bought her at the age of 15 to become "personal masseuse" of Epstein. She would claim that she and other girls were then sexually exploited by Epstein and his selection of wealthy friends.
Prince Andrew has denied being among them, with Buckingham Palace saying: & any suggestion of impropriety with minors is categorically not true & # 39 ;.
A spokesperson added: & # 39; It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had sexual contact or a relationship with Virginia Roberts. & # 39; problems for him.
A source near Andrew told the London Evening Standard: "Look at his fingers in the photo. The duke has rather plump fingers – they don't look good and neither does the length of the duke and the girl. & # 39;
The same plump fingers? Sources say that Andrews fingers & # 39; don't look good & # 39; in the photo with Roberts and suggest that the photo may have been polished
Correct heights: sources near the prince also claim that the height differences between the two in the original photo & # 39; are not correct & # 39;
Although Andrew is said to be about 6ft long, Virginia is supposed to be about 5ft 8in – which is reflected in the picture.
Another anonymous source told the norm: "Many close to the duke believe that this is a witch hunt based on absolutely no evidence." But Andrew's hardest critics point out that in the eight years that have passed since Virginia became public with her claims she has never dealt with it in detail.
Another source close to the prince has also claimed that Roberts claimed that, later in the evening, the photo was taken, Andrew drank cocktails with her at a nightclub in London. The source said that such a claim could not be true because the duke is teetotal. However, Roberts & # 39; account is that cocktails were only bought for her by Andrew. Meanwhile, the prince claims that he cannot remember the photo.
While that may be the case, the details that Roberts has provided over the years, combined with other evidence unveiled today in The Daily Mail, provide a convincing picture of how this extraordinary picture came about. To begin with, when it was taken, it is known that Andrew had built a close friendship with Epstein after being introduced by Ferguson in the late 1990s.
The duchess was introduced to Epstein by Maxwell, then a socialite from New York.
Maxwell and Epstein went out for a while, but after they broke up, they stayed close and connected him with high-profile friends such as Andrew, magician David Copperfield, disgraced film magnate Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump.
The same characteristics of the house of the stable: matching windows where the Duke and Virginia met and posed for the original photo
It is claimed that she is also known as & # 39; madame & # 39; van Epstein acted and recruited young girls for & # 39; massages & # 39; and more. A 15-year-old Roberts was one of those recruits.
Andrew was quickly dragged into the Epstein orbit, vacationing on his private island in the Caribbean and enjoying day trips on his jet and invitations to hunt star-filled parties with super models.
Andrew would reimburse Epstein & # 39; s hospitality by inviting him to taste the benefits of royal life. In 1999, Epstein and his entourage visited Balmoral as his guests. The following year Epstein and Maxwell attended a party at Windsor Castle organized by the queen.
They returned to London in March 2001 – this time with Roberts. She would explain what she claimed to have happened during that visit in interviews with The Mail on Sunday and in statements and documents filed in subsequent US legal proceedings.
Upon arrival in London, the trio is claimed to be driving directly to Maxwell & # 39; s Knightsbridge Stables House on Kinnerton Street, near Harrods.
Epstein committed suicide in his cell earlier this month
& # 39; Ghislaine has taken me upstairs to a small bedroom, & # 39; Roberts remembered. "That night I gave Jeffrey an erotic massage. I was jet lagged. I went to sleep. The next morning, Ghislaine entered my room. She was cheerful and very dizzy. She jumped on the bed and said, "Get up, get up, sleepy head. You have a big day. We have to go shopping. You need a dress because you're going to dance with a prince tonight."
"She said I had to be smiley and bubbles and very happy to be with him and give him a lot of energy because he was the son of the queen." They went shopping for designer dresses, perfume and makeup and returned to Maxwell's house around 4 p.m.
Shortly thereafter, the Duke of York arrived with his guards. They drank tea in which "Ghislaine played one of her favorite guessing games."
Roberts said, "She asked Andrew how old he thought I was and he suspected 17 and they all laughed about it and Ghislaine was joking that I was getting too old for Jeffrey. She said, "He'll have to trade her in soon."
Eating out followed. & # 39; I was between Jeffrey and Andrew while eating, & she said. "Andrew made eye contact with me on every occasion and focused on my deep V-neck top."
The next stop was the Tramp nightclub in Mayfair. There they went to the VIP room where Andrew gave her a cocktail and asked her to dance.
& # 39; He was the most horrible dancer I have ever seen & she would remember. "He grabbed my hips and he was sweating and he had this cheesy smile."
Then they returned to Maxwell's house, where it is claimed that the photo was taken. "We all went upstairs and I asked Jeffrey to take a picture of me with the prince," she said. "I wanted to show my mother something. Ghislaine and Jeffrey then left us. & # 39;
The photo was made on the first floor of the building. The window in the photo seems to correspond to one at the front of the house.
In the photo Andrew is dressed in dark trousers and a light blue shirt with different buttons undone in the neck and his sleeves are decorated with cufflinks. Other photos show that this was a look he preferred at the time. For example, a few months earlier he was photographed and left the Chinawhite club in London in almost the same clothing.
What happened next is fiercely controversial. In sworn court statements, Roberts claimed that she and the prince were taking a bath together.
& # 39; He started licking my toes, between my toes, the arches of my feet, & # 39; she said. & # 39; And then we went to the bedroom and he went with me so to speak. & # 39;
Virginia Roberts (depicted as a teenager) claims that she had sexual encounters with Prince Andrew on a number of occasions
According to Roberts, Epstein paid her $ 15,000 (£ 10,000) the next day.
Andrew has denied having had sexual contact with the teenager, and in 2015 her claims were ordered to be removed from the record by an American judge. There is no claim that Andrew was aware of the alleged payment by Epstein.
Maxwell lawyers also rejected the allegations and said the bath was too small for a man of Prince Andrew's size to enjoy a bath in, let alone sex.
Roberts claimed that she had two consecutive sexual encounters with the prince at the Epstein mansion in Manhattan and at his hiding place in the US Virgin Islands. Buckingham Palace has denied the allegations.
But no matter how harsh the denials may be, the story – and that photo – won't disappear.
In July, Epstein was confronted with even more serious criminal charges for sex trafficking by minors in Florida and New York. The 66-year-old was found hanging in his prison cell at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10.
His reported suicide means that Maxwell is considered by many to be the best witness to the crimes he allegedly committed. However, she has not been arrested and has repeatedly denied accusations against her.
Earlier this month she was photographed in Los Angeles and she seemed to be reading a book entitled The Book of Honor – The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives.
Since then it has been claimed that the photo – the first by Maxwell in three years – has been staged by her lawyer. If her hope was that it would suppress interest in the story, it would seem highly unlikely, given the huge number of unanswered questions.
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