Former royal police officer rejects claim that Prince Andrew was not close with Ghislaine Maxwell and says she had special access to palace

·6-min read
Prince Andrew Ghislaine Maxwell
Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell at Royal Ascot on June 22, 2000.Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images
  • In documents released Wednesday, Prince Andrew's lawyers denied he was close to Ghislaine Maxwell.

  • Paul Page, a former palace officer, told Insider they were close friends and he saw them together.

  • Page was convicted of fraud in 2009, and the royals dismissed claims he made in the past.

A former protection officer at Buckingham Palace described Prince Andrew's claim that he was not close friends with Ghislaine Maxwell as "nonsense."

Paul Page, who worked at the palace for six years, told Insider he saw Andrew and Maxwell together at least a dozen times and heard of many more visits from colleagues who also managed visitors to Andrew's residence.

He alleged Maxwell was given special treatment when she came, with officers told to keep her name out of official records.

Page was convicted of fraud for an elaborate £3 million scam and jailed for it in 2009, The Guardian reported at the time. Buckingham Palace has cast doubt before on his claims about his time there.

Page also mentioned the pair's closeness during his trial, BuzzFeed reported, citing internal Metropolitan Police documents describing the allegations.

Speaking with Insider by phone on Thursday, Page said he saw the two together around 2001 having a picnic on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

He said the location — close to the Queen's rooms within the complex — was not a usual place for people to gather.

Representatives for Andrew declined to comment for this article. After Page raised some of these allegations in 2019, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "During the trial, which resulted in a conviction for fraud, Mr Page made a series of allegations about the Royal Household and members of the Royal Family, none of which were substantiated."

'I don't know what planet he's on'

Page's claims came the day after Andrew's lawyers formally responded to a sexual-assault allegation made by the Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre.

In August, Giuffre sued Andrew. She said Epstein, Maxwell, and Andrew forced her to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 in Maxwell's London home. Andrew has denied the allegation.

As part of her complaint, Giuffre's lawyers said Andrew "was a close friend" of Maxwell. Maxwell was convicted late last year on five counts of sex trafficking on behalf of Epstein. She has since requested a retrial.

As part of his denial of Giuffre's allegations, Andrew denied being close to Maxwell.

Speaking with Insider on Thursday, Page said: "If he's put that, then I don't know what planet he's on."

He added: "Why would you say that? That's just nonsense."

Page said he first became aware of Maxwell's visits around 2001, when he was working on the front gate at Buckingham Palace and was responsible for letting people in.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace in London.SOPA Images/Getty Images

"Obviously, they have to have an appointment," he said. Officers at the front gate were given a daily list of who was expected at the palace, which he would note in a book, he said.

But that day, Page said, an officer called him at lunchtime and told him that there was an appointment for Andrew and that he should not write the person's name in the book.

In the legal documents cited by BuzzFeed, Page said other women were let into the palace without their names being noted.

When he learned Maxwell's identity, Page told Insider it caught his attention because she is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, a disgraced British media tycoon who died in 1991.

After her car was waved through, Maxwell headed toward Andrew's private staircase, Page said.

Later that day, he said he saw Andrew and Maxwell sitting on the grass under the Queen's bedroom window "having a massive picnic."

"If the Queen knew who was sat in her back garden, I don't think she'd be very happy," he said.

After that, Maxwell "was a regular visitor," Page said, adding: "The standard procedure was that when Ghislaine turns up, she was to be let straight in"

He added: "We thought she was in a relationship with him. That's my honest held belief."

In an ITV documentary that aired last week, Page alleged Andrew and Maxwell had an "intimate relationship."

"He basically bullied and manipulated us to break strict security rules," Page said of the instruction not to note Maxwell's name.

He said some officers tried to complain but were frightened to push back too much for fear of repercussions.

Page told Insider that other officers he knew from his time at the palace remained too scared to speak up, which he said might breach nondisclosure agreements.

There is no evidence to corroborate the specific claims Page made to Insider. But other sources have shown Maxwell had privileged access to Buckingham Palace.

A photograph published by The Sunday Telegraph and dated 2002 shows Maxwell with the actor Kevin Spacey inside the palace's throne room. The newspaper, citing palace sources, said they were there at Andrew's invitation.

A BBC article said Maxwell was at royal residences on two other occasions with Andrew in 2000, at Windsor Castle in June and at Sandringham in December.

Since Page's ITV appearance, others have backed up some of his other claims about the prince.

Charlotte Briggs, who told The Sun that she worked for the royals in the 1990s, and Ken Wharfe, a former protection officer, both raised similar stories about the prince — though not about his interactions with Maxwell.

How close are Andrew and Maxwell?

Jeffrey Epstein Ghislaine Maxwell
This photograph of Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell, apparently at Balmoral, was entered into evidence in Maxwell's criminal trial last month.US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

ITV said Andrew and Maxwell first met at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where Maxwell studied in the mid-'80s, about the time Andrew was serving in the Royal Navy.

Maxwell's brother Ian told the network that Andrew and Maxwell were "good friends" but that he didn't know how often they saw each other.

Giuffre's lawyers have pointed to other apparent evidence of Andrew and Maxwell's closeness, including several photographs of them socializing together.

This includes a widely circulated photograph of them at Maxwell's house in London.

In his legal rebuttal Wednesday, Andrew's lawyers said they did not have enough information to be able to confirm or deny the veracity of the pictures.

Andrew suggested in a 2019 BBC interview that the photo showing them together may have been fake.

In December, a photograph emerged that appeared to document Epstein and Maxwell's 1999 visit to Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish residence, likely on Andrew's invitation.

In the BBC interview, Andrew also spoke about hosting both Epstein and Maxwell for a shooting weekend in 2000 at the Queen's Sandringham House on Maxwell's birthday, though he denied it was a birthday party.

He did say that Maxwell, rather than Epstein, was the "key element" of the event, with Epstein merely a "plus one."

Claims have also emerged that the prince partied with Epstein and Maxwell at a luxury resort in Phuket, Thailand, in 2001, according to The Sun and The Mirror.

Asked about whether his fraud conviction made his claims about Andrew unreliable, Page said: "I went to prison and rightly so, but it doesn't detract from the fact that I'm telling the fucking truth."

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