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How media tycoon's daughter came to be abuser Epstein's Girl Friday


Socialite: Ghislaine Maxwell at Epsom Racecourse in 1991. Photo: Jim James/PA Wire

Socialite: Ghislaine Maxwell at Epsom Racecourse in 1991. Photo: Jim James/PA Wire

Socialite: Ghislaine Maxwell at Epsom Racecourse in 1991. Photo: Jim James/PA Wire

Some say Ghislaine Maxwell was seeking the sort of approval from Jeffrey Epstein that she craved from Robert Maxwell, her father.

Having named his luxury yacht the Lady Ghislaine, there was no mistaking the media tycoon's love of his ninth and youngest child.

Yet her childhood was overshadowed by the death, when she was just two years old, of Michael, her 15-year-old brother, in a car accident. Elisabeth, her mother, later suggested that the tragedy caused her daughter to become anorexic as a toddler.

Born in France, Ms Maxwell (58) grew up at Headington Hill Hall, an Oxford mansion that doubled as the offices for Maxwell's publishing empire.

Despite being of Jewish descent, she later allegedly joked about her penchant for extreme dieting: "I do it the way Nazis did it with the Jews, the Auschwitz diet. I just don't eat."

Ms Maxwell's propensity to shock was cultivated at Marlborough College, and later, Balliol College, Oxford, where she had a reputation for knowing all the right people.

A prominent member of the 1980s London social scene, she founded a women's club named after the original Kit-Cat Club while dabbling in her father's business interests as a director of Oxford United Football Club, which he owned, and 'The European', one of his publications.

When Maxwell bought the 'New York Daily News' in 1991, she was sent to the Big Apple to act as his go-between - a role that it was later claimed she echoed in her dealings with Epstein, whom she first met at a party in Manhattan.

She was later described by staff as the billionaire financier's "main girlfriend" and the "Lady of the House".

Their close friendship veered between romantic and platonic over the years, with Ms Maxwell positioning herself very much as Epstein's Girl Friday. She would spend her weekends at his island in the Caribbean, and even got her helicopter licence so she could fly in and out.

Insiders wonder whether she would have grown so close to the convicted paedophile were it not for her father's sudden death, aboard Lady Ghislaine in November 1991. She has always insisted he did not commit suicide - despite the £440m black hole in the Mirror Group's pension funds - commenting in 1997: "I think he was murdered."

Ms Maxwell introduced Epstein to Prince Andrew in the mid-90s and by 2000, she and Epstein were on the guest list for a party thrown by the duke at his mother's Sandringham House estate, as well as making an appearance at Royal Ascot. A few months later, Ms Maxwell returned the favour by escorting the queen's son to a "hookers and pimps" Halloween party in New York, where she was pictured in a blonde wig alongside fellow guests including Donald Trump and his then girlfriend, Melania.

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Although she continued to attend functions after Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008, the pair were no longer seen together publicly and by late 2015, she had largely retreated from the social scene as she became increasingly embroiled in the sex-trafficking case.

Believed to still own a house in London's Belgravia, she sold a 7,000 sq ft New York townhouse thought to have been bought for her by Epstein less than 10 blocks from his Upper East side mansion in April 2016. Last year, reports suggested she was living in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, where she kept below the radar.

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