Prince Andrew‘s ex-girlfriend Lady Victoria Hervey has claimed he was ‘not allowed’ to fight the Virginia Giuffre case and the disastrous performance during his Newsnight interview was due to receiving ‘no media training’.
The duke’s former partner, 46, also backed Ghislaine Maxwell’s remarks that the notorious photo of him with his arm around then 17-year-old Ms Giuffre is ‘fake’.
The fallout from the BBC interview with Emily Maitlis ultimately led to Andrew, 62, stepping down from public duties in November 2019 before being stripped of his military titles and royal patronages.
But appearing on ITV’s Lorraine today, Lady Victoria defended her former partner and claimed he was left with ‘no choice in the matter’ but to settle the case.
Prince Andrew seen driving in the grounds of Windsor Castle yesterday prior to Ghislaine Maxwell’s interview
TIMELINE OF THE NOTORIOUS VIRGINIA GIUFFRE AND PRINCE ANDREW PHOTOGRAPH
March 2001 – The photo of Virginia, Ghislaine and Prince Andrew is reportedly taken at Ghislaine’s home in London.
May 2001 – Naomi Campbell hosted a boat party in the French Riviera with Jeffrey Epstein, Virginia, Ghislaine Maxwell all attending.
February 2011 – Virginia is approached by the Mail On Sunday and produces the picture.
She claimed the photograph was taken in March 2001, two months before the boat party in St Tropez.
She said she had sex with Andrew three times while a teenager, which the Duke denies.
The photographs are published by the Mail On Sunday.
November 2019 – Prince Andrew tells BBC Newsnight: ‘You can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked because it’s a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.’
December 2019 – Virginia told BBC Panorama that the photo is genuine and she gave the original to the FBI in 2011.
December 2019 – Giuffre’s then-boyfriend Tony Figueroa tells BBC Panorama he saw the picture in the year it was taken – 2001 – and that Ms Giuffre told him she had been forced to have sex with the prince.
February 2022 – Lady Victoria Hervey says victims of Epstein have told her the image was photoshopped by Virginia and Maria Farmer.
February 2022 – Experts claim the image is real and unlikely to be fake.
January 2023 – Maxwell claims the image is fake and that she has not seen an original, only photocopies.
She said: ‘From what I know, he didn’t have a choice. He basically didn’t get his day in court and was not allowed to fight.
‘I think it was Buckingham Palace that put the pressure on him and he basically was not allowed to fight it.
‘I think as far as the titles were supposed to be given back to him, they were never officially going to be taken away.
‘They were only going to be briefly taken away while it was going to be fought and he was going to be a private citizen in court.’
And pressed on the notorious photograph, Lady Victoria added: ‘I don’t think he was allowed to say it was a fake because otherwise he could have had Virginia possibly come after him, without having enough proof that it is a fake.
‘I’ve been in contact with the person who I believe is the real person who took the photo and he’s told me exactly how it was done and that he was involved in actually doing the photoshop.
‘He was made to settle, he had no choice in the matter. The picture is the only thing that Virginia has been using to try against him trying prove that they were together but it’s not him.
‘If you look at that picture, I’ve actually been in this house and I’ve stood behind where they’re standing with the same furniture behind – the scale is completely different.’
Maxwell last night sparked a backlash after claiming the photographed was not genuine during a bombshell interview with TalkTV last night – as victims condemned her controversial remarks.
But Lady Victoria supported Maxwell’s claims, saying: ‘Personally I think Ghislaine hasn’t said something before because she was dealing with her own legal matters and she wasn’t in a position to be able to say that, but if you actually read one of her depositions she actually said in the original that she does not believe this picture is real.
‘At the end of the day he says he’s never met her and he’s always stood by that. If you look at everything, even when they did settle… he didn’t apologise because why would he apologise?’
During the Newsnight interview, Andrew denied he had sex with Ms Giuffre, who said she was trafficked by convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein on three separate occasions, including when she was 17 – still a minor under US law.
He also dismissed one of the American’s claims – that he was sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp – as factually wrong because he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
The interview was widely considered one of the most disastrous in royal history, but Lady Victoria said she has watched replays of the interview and Andrew’s performance ‘actually isn’t that bad’.
Lady Victoria Hervey has claimed he was ‘not allowed’ to fight the Virginia Giuffre case on ITV’s Lorraine today
The notorious photo of Prince Andrew with Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell which is claimed to be fake
Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis was considered one of the most disastrous in royal history
She told Lorraine: ‘He’s not media trained and this is the problem. He hasn’t been media trained and so that was a huge mistake.
‘He’s just very factual how he remembers things and the way he says things, it is more done in a factual way kind of military-style way.
‘I agree with the way it came out, the delivery was not what people wanted to hear, but when you replay that whole interview, which I have a couple times, the bit where it is obviously bad is where he doesn’t say he regrets knowing Jeffrey Epstein.
‘That was where he messed up, but I think the rest of it actually isn’t that bad.’
The duke went on to pay millions to settle a civil sexual assault case with Ms Giuffre – a woman he claimed to have never met.
He previously said he has ‘no recollection’ of meeting her and cast doubt on the picture, claiming he is ‘not one to hug’ or ‘display affection’ in public.
In the interview with Newsnight, Andrew said while he recognises himself in the picture with Ms Giuffre, he claimed it is not possible to prove if the image has been faked.
Meanwhile, Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in a US prison last year after being found guilty of luring young girls to massage rooms so Epstein could molest them between 1994 and 2004.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.