Prince Andrew’s ‘stamp of approval’ legitimised Ghislaine Maxwell in New York, writer says

Ms Maxwell was aided by having British accent, a writer in her contacts book says

Clea Skopeliti
Monday 03 August 2020 14:02 BST
Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to recruiting girls for Jeffrey Epstein

A writer who claims she was in Ghislaine Maxwell‘s “little black book” has revealed how Prince Andrew‘s “stamp of approval” helped the disgraced socialite to hustle her way into New York‘s most elite circles.

Writing in the Telegraph, Helen Kirwan-Taylor says she made it into the contacts book Ms Maxwell curated for Jeffrey Epstein, the infamous pedophile, after catching the socialite’s attention while working as an assistant producer at 60 Minutes, a role that granted her access to “presidents and prime ministers”.

Ms Kirwan-Taylor appeared on the list including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Naomi Campbell and Tony Blair. She claims that, ”back in the days when that was acceptable”, she have the “honour” of two connections as Ms Maxwell was also friendly with her father-in-law.

Ms Maxwell, 58, is awaiting trial on charges of conspiring with Epstein, her former boyfriend, to sexually abuse multiple minor girls. She denies the charges.

After the Maxwell empire collapsed after her father’s mysterious death, Ms Maxwell managed to successfully reinvent herself as a New York socialite.

Ms Kirwan-Taylor, who is now based in Notting Hill but comes from New York, writes that she was aided by her “British accent and a faint whiff of poshness”, as well as Prince Andrew’s crucial “stamp of approval”.

In an interview with the BBC that led to his retirement, the Duke of York said he met Ms Maxwell while she was a student in the UK.

The duke has been accused of having sex with Virginia Giuffre, a teenager who was allegedly trafficked by Epstein. He denies the allegations.

The writer, who has lived all over the world, describes Ms Maxwell as “quick-witted, attention-seeking and the complete darling of her set”, adding that despite appearing socially with the “It girls” of the time, many of her own close friends were “career-minded” women who worked in the City.

Ms Kirwan-Taylor characterises New York as having “always been the breeding ground of upstarts and scammers”, with its residents being more tolerant towards Europeans who fake aristocratic titles and family wealth, naming scammer Anna Sorokin as a recent example.

While these appearances landed Ms Maxwell among some of the most well-connected people in Manhattan, Ms Kirwan-Taylor underlines this social-climbing didn’t grant them access to New York’s old money circles, who she says “didn’t give Epstein the time of day” as “there were rumours from the start”.

Ms Kirwan-Taylor explains how newcomers to the city aiming to join exclusive circles use PRs and get their faces in tabloids and society magazines, but also need a “a rich husband or a patron” to back them, which she found in Epstein.

Ms Maxwell is being held at Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn, New York ahead of her trial. Epstein died in jail while awaiting trial last year.

The Independent has contacted a spokesperson for Prince Andrew for comment.

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