Standing off to one side in the photo was Ghislaine Maxwell, 49, the stylish and well-connected daughter of the late, disgraced British newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell.
According to Virginia, Ghislaine recruited her as Epstein’s “sex slave” when she was 15 years old and arranged for her to see Andrew three times, in London and New York and on Epstein’s private Caribbean island, Little Saint James.
Despite his advancing years, and the often-overlooked fact that Andrew is a teetotaller, critics loudly decry the fourth-in-line as a high-living layabout, whose station in life rivals even the late Princess Margaret's for its opulence, indulgence, and sheer pointlessness.
His nicknames - Randy Andy, or Air-Miles Andy, to mention but two - describe a globe-trotting, blazer-clad playboy, who uses helicopters and private jets to ferry him between a never-ending succession of yachts, holiday resorts, and some of the world's finest golf courses.
Her newspaper had obtained an interview with a young woman named Virginia Roberts, who claimed that the billionaire American money manager Jeffrey Epstein had trained her as an under-age prostitute and flown her to London in 2001, when she was just 17 years old, for the express purpose of spending time with Prince Andrew.
Virginia, now a mother of three living in Australia, had waited a decade to break her silence, but the newspaper had evidence to support her story—flight logs from Epstein’s Boeing 727 and Gulfstream jet, and a photo showing Prince Andrew with his arm around Virginia’s bare midriff.
But the statuesque 5ft 10in redhead is undoubtedly best known for her long and rather incongruous association with Prince Andrew.The extraordinary tale took a further twist this week, when key details were grudgingly confirmed by Buckingham Palace: Yes, Andrew had once paid a nocturnal visit to Love's house, they admitted, but it was six years ago and no, he hadn't been in search of females.Either way, the affair is more-or-less guaranteed to cement to the Prince's unwanted reputation, rivalled only by his younger nephew, Prince Harry, as the playboy of today's Royal Family.Perkins has the thankless task of serving as press secretary to the Queen’s wayward second son, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York.The female voice on the other end of the phone line belonged to Sian James, an assistant editor at a tabloid that’s been unsparing in its coverage of Andrew’s dissolute private life and dodgy friends.“We’re planning to publish a story about the Duke of York,” James told Perkins, “and we’d like a comment from the Palace.”Perkins listened in stunned silence as James unfolded a shocking tale.