12:44 GMT19 June 2021
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    Describing Ghislaine Maxwell's relationship with the prince, her friend suggested that the former will "protect him to the last".

    Christopher Mason, a former friend of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, said that she is unlikely to disclose any information about Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and his "alleged liaison" with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, The Sun reports.

    A former associate of disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell currently awaits trial in the United States after being arrested in July 2020 and charged by federal prosecutors in New York City with four counts of procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts and two counts of perjury; she denies all the charges against her.

    And as Mason explained to the newspaper, Maxwell would not give up the prince as the two "were always fiercely loyal to each other".

    "I think she'll still have his back and will protect him to the last", he explained. "I don't think U.S. prosecutors would have much of an appetite for shaming a British prince, but his refusal to cooperate with their enquiries may spur their determination to exert maximum pressure on Ghislaine to turn on him."

    A British journalist based in New York who became a close friend of Maxwell after meeting her in 1989, Mason also remarked that connection to powerful men like Prince Andrew made her a “perfect match” for “social climber Epstein”, as the newspaper put it.

    "Jeffrey was supremely ambitious but he was never a cocktail party kind of guy," he said. "He was only interested in hanging out with powerful people."

    Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein, has claimed that she was trafficked by the paedophile financier and forced into intimate relations with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions, including when she was 17.

    The Duke of York, however, has always categorically denied he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Giuffre, though he ended up stepping back from royal duties late last year amid a growing backlash that followed a BBC interview about his friendship with Epstein.

    relationship, Prince Andrew, Ghislaine Maxwell, US, United Kingdom
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