Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre photo is fake, says Ghislaine Maxwell

(US Department of Justice/PA)

Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has said that the well-known photo showing the Duke of York next to Virginia Giuffre is fake.

Maxwell, 61, who was convicted of sex trafficking, has previously cast doubt on the authenticity of the photo, said to have been taken inside her Mayfair home, showing Prince Andrew with his arm around Ms Giuffre with Maxwell in the background.

Speaking from prison in the US, Maxwell said she is “sure” the picture is not real.

In an interview with TalkTV, due to be aired on Monday evening, Maxwell said: “It’s a fake. I don’t believe it’s real for a second, in fact I’m sure it’s not.” She added: “Well, there’s never been an original, and further there’s no photograph, and I’ve only ever seen a photocopy of it.”

Andrew has also questioned the validity of the image of himself with Ms Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts.

The prince went on to pay millions to settle a civil sexual assault case with Ms Giuffre – a woman he claimed never to have met.

According to reports in The Sun on Sunday and the Mail on Sunday, Andrew is now considering what legal options are available to him regarding a bid to overturn the settlement.

Ms Giuffre sued the royal for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, the former partner of Maxwell. Andrew has denied the claims.

The prince has previously said he has “no recollection” of meeting Ms Giuffre and cast doubt on the picture, claiming he is “not one to hug” or “display affection” in public.

In an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme in 2019, Andrew claimed that while he recognised himself in the picture with Ms Giuffre, it was not possible to prove whether the image had been faked.

He also claimed that the picture could not have been taken in London, as it shows him wearing his “travelling clothes”.

Ms Giuffre insisted to the BBC’s Panorama that the photo was “authentic” and said she had given the original to the FBI in 2011.

Maxwell cast doubt on the authenticity of the photo in a deposition. She said the surroundings in the photo looked “familiar”, but noted: “We can’t really establish the photograph and all that,” adding: “I don’t know if that’s true, if that’s a real picture or not.”

Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2022 after she was found guilty by a jury of luring young girls to massage-rooms for Epstein to molest between 1994 and 2004.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.

Jeremy Kyle Live: Ghislaine Behind Bars will air on Monday night on TalkTV at 7pm.