PHOTOS of Prince Andrew with his arm around a 17-year-old sex slave will finally help bring his working royal life to a shameful end.
But now infamous image shows 41-year-old Prince Andrew with his arm around Virginia’s waist at the time she says she is being groomed and abused by Epstein and Maxwell.
It was reported on 10 March 2001, the same night that the Duke allegedly had sex with the teenager at Maxwell’s Belgravia on Kinnerton Street.
Andrew wore black trousers and an open-collared blue shirt, while Roberts – now known as Virginia Giuffre – wore patterned pants and a pink crop top.
In the background, Maxwell – wearing a sleeveless turtleneck sweater – looks on and smiles.
The photo is said to have been taken by disgraced financier paedo Jeffrey Epstein – with his thumb clumsily placed over the lens visible in the wider version.
Maxwell’s lawsuit saw a flurry of personal photos unearthed showing her and Epstein together as the loving couple captured their lives on camera.
They have been photographed together on vacation in exotic locations and look so loved as they hold hands.
Meanwhile, they are also seen in dull pictures – such as the one where Maxwell is giving Epstein a foot massage with their friend Jean Luc Brunel.
And as Epstein allegedly posed for Andrew that night in London – another photo for their album – it’s unclear whether paedo knew it would contribute to his friend’s eventual downfall.
Perhaps more than the photo itself, it was Andrew’s reaction to the photo that turned out to be his undoing in the public eye.
That night, Virginia alleges that she went to the Tramp nightclub in central London with Andrew, where they danced together and he bought her drinks.
In a car crash interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, Andrew says he doesn’t know where the bar is in Tramp because he doesn’t drink and says he doesn’t believe he’s ever bought a drink in the club.
Famously, he claimed that on the night when the photo was taken, he was 35 miles away at a Pizza Express in the Surrey town of Woking.
Andrew also insists he can’t sweat from an adrenaline overdose he suffered during the Falklands War after Maitlis quoted Virginia as saying his sweat “rained everywhere”.
As they left the club, Virginia claimed Maxwell, Epstein’s then-girlfriend, instructed her to “do to Andrew what I do to Jeffrey”.
The photograph from that night has been featured in countless articles and, for many, symbolizes the demise of Prince Andrew.
“If this isn’t a member of the Royal Family with someone from a very different social class, the photo won’t tell you anything, because it’s not a sexual assault photo,” the former prosecutor said. sex offender Wendy Murphy says Guardians.
“In a normal case, the defense just says it just proves they attended a party together.”
But for Andrew, the big blow, according to Wendy, is that Maxwell is in the background and it “has no explanation of innocence … there’s no innocent reason for him to hug her, even in the middle of nowhere. a social situation”.
During Virginia’s ouster in 2016 as part of her defamation lawsuit filed against Maxwell, the Mail on Sunday paid her $140,000 (£103,000) to publish the photograph, as well as $20,000 (£14,700) for two interviews.
She said during that detention that she lent the photo to the FBI in 2011, but had not seen it since she packed up and moved to Australia.
She said the photo could be in her house, in her husband’s warehouse, or with “seven boxes full of Nerf guns, my kids’ toys, photos”.
Just one day before the settlement, Andrew’s legal team asked to see the original copy of the photo as part of a bid to prove the painting was fake.
But, in another twist, Virginia Roberts’ attorneys claim she “lost” the scandalous photo just a day later.
Despite attempts to try and discredit the photo, others have come forward to attest that it is real.
Virginia’s ex-boyfriend, Tony Figueroa, said he saw the photo in 2001 when she first told him about Andrew.
And journalist Michael Thomas, who first copied the photo in 2011, also said it was a real photo and he had seen the original photo.
He told Letters: “It’s not that she pulled out a picture of Prince Andrew, it’s just among the rest of the pictures.
“They’re just typical teenage photos. There’s no way the picture is fake.”
Since Epstein’s death in August 2019, sources close to Andrew have begun to spread outlandish claims that the photo is hypothetical.
Asked if the photo was real during his Newsnight interview, Andrew insisted: “I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because … when I go out in London, I wear a suit and wear a tie.”
He added: “I’m not the person I used to be, hugging and showing affection in public is not something I do.
“So that’s the best explanation I can give you, and I’m afraid to say I don’t believe the photo was taken in the way that was suggested.
He also tried to cast doubt on the photo by describing it as a “photograph of a photograph of a photograph”.
Andrew isn’t the only one to try and discredit the photo, with his ex-girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey calling Virginia a “con artist”.
In recent weeks, Victoria, 44, has repeatedly insisted the photo is fake, sharing images of alleged double bodies that she said were used to create the photo, as well as the photo. The unedited original shows only Ghislaine Maxwell.
But Maxwell – who faces the rest of his life in prison upon conviction later this year – seems to have confirmed that the infamous photo is real.
In a leaked email between Maxwell and her attorney from January 2015, she was asked: “Do you know if the picture of Andrew and Virginia is real? You’re in the background.”
Right after she replied: “It looks like the real thing. I think it is.”
Last year, Maxwell was found guilty of recruiting and training four teenagers for Epstein.
Today, Andrew faces a lonely birthday with many in the Royal Family shunned him.
His reputation was in tatters and he had to pay around £10m to his accuser.
In the eyes of many, he would be seen as guilty, although paying the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing.
Having been stripped of his titles, there were even calls to be stripped of his Duke of York status by one of the city’s MPs.
The duke has now become a pariah and it seems that Virginia’s photo – wherever it is – was the catalyst for his downfall.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4725539/prince-andrew-photo-virginia-roberts-giuffre-ghislaine-maxwell/ How embarrassed Prince Andrew is by a mysterious £120,000 photo of him and Virginia that Ghislaine says is ‘real’