Virginia Roberts’ claims to have lost original print of the famous photo of her and Prince Andrew, which could further disgraced royal’s argument that the image was doctored.
‘The picture is not in Virginia’s possession,’ a source close to Roberts – who now goes by her married name of Giuffre – told the Daily Beast.
Another insider said they weren’t even sure if the original of print of the picture ‘still existed.’ It was in one of a number of boxes shipped from Giuffre’s former home in Colorado to Sydney, Australia, where she now lives, and where it has been mislaid.
The notorious photograph was taken at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home in March 2001 and shows a smiling 41-year-old Prince Andrew with his arm around Giuffre’s waist when she was 17 as Maxwell stands behind the pair in a doorway.
Giuffre claims the picture – which has earned her $160,000 in media fees and was previously examined by the FBI as potential evidence against Jeffrey Epstein – was taken the same night the Duke of York allegedly sexually assaulted her the first time.
Prince Andrew and his legal team are contesting a civil case in New York launched by Giuffre last August, in which she alleges the royal assaulted her three times. He has vehemently denied the allegations since they were first made public.
A US lawyer working for the Duke has arranged for a photographic expert to study the original if they can access it. The attorney hopes the expert will cast doubt on the photograph’s authenticity. Andrew himself denies ever meeting Giuffre, and says the photo may have been doctored. Bizarrely, his friend Lady Victoria Hervey claims an Irish man was used as a body double, with Andrew’s head later superimposed.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre claims to have lost original print of the famous photo of her and Prince Andrew, which could further disgraced royal’s argument that the image was doctored. The image, pictured, was taken at Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home in March 2001
Giuffre’s attorneys are reportedly unaware of the photograph’s whereabouts and, according to the Daily Beast, no-one on her legal team has actually ever seen the original image.
The ‘critical’ piece of evidence is said to have gone missing sometime between 2011 and 2016 when Giuffre emigrated to Australia from Colorado.
Giuffre, speaking of the photo in 2016, said then that it could be in moving boxes at her in-laws’ home in Sydney, full of ‘nerf guns, kids’ toys, photos.’
Andrew attorneys argue that without the hard copy original, there is no way to prove the image wasn’t manipulated.
However, the Giuffre source noted that often times original photos are misplaced and only copies survive.
When asked if it was odd that Giuffre misplaced a picture that was of interest to the FBI, the source said: ‘Remember at the time that she was being interviewed by the FBI she was not suing anybody.
‘She was not getting legal advice. She has now been through six or seven years of litigation and has lawyers advising her and I’m sure she would behave differently, but then she was just a young girl.’
The Giuffre source also said they don’t believe failure to produce an original image will affect the admissibility of the picture as evidence.
They claimed the case does not rest on the image, which is ‘a reason [her lawyer] David Boies is not worried’ about producing the original.
The Daily Beast claims the source did not answer queries about what efforts were made to locate the original image or the boxes it is apparently stored in.
A source closed to Giuffre (pictured in August 2019) told the Daily Beast her attorneys are unaware of the photograph’s whereabouts and that no-one on her legal team has actually ever seen the original image
Prince Andrew (pictured in November 2019) and his legal team are contesting a civil case in New York launched by Giuffre last August, in which she alleges the royal assaulted her three times. He has vehemently denied the allegations since they were first made public. His attorney has arranged for a photographic expert to study the original if they can access it and hopes the expert will cast doubt on the photograph’s authenticity
The unidentified source did, however, claim it was ‘productive’ for Andrew to contest the picture’s authenticity, saying: ‘That would destroy their credibility. Even Andrew in that BBC interview did not say it was fake.’
They allege challenging the authenticity of the photo aims to support Andrew’s ‘I never met her’ defense.
‘The photo does not show them having sex. But it shows they were together. It shows they met,’ the source argued.
‘The more he fights about that photograph, the more he underscores the fact that the real credibility issue for him now is whether he ever met her. That’s a losing battle for him.’
The Duke of York’s legal team has tried repeatedly to get the case thrown out before it reaches a courtroom, but have so far failed.
In the meantime, Andrew’s position within the British royal family has deteriorated. He stepped down from royal duties in 2019, and returned his patronages and military titles earlier this year as the case reaching court became more likely.
The image, first released to the media in 2011, has gone on to become synonymous with the Duke, the accusations, his ongoing legal battle and questions over his relationship with the late billionaire pedophile Jefferey Epstein.
Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein and Maxwell. The latter is facing up to 40 years in prison after she was convicted of a string of sex offenses in New York, although she has filed a request for a retrial.
The photo was reportedly taken in March 2001 at Maxwell’s London apartment, and has been reproduced countless times around the world after Giuffre shared it with The Mail on Sunday.
Gaining access to the image has been an ambition of Andrew’s lawyers ever since, but they are yet to provide any evidence themselves that it is not genuine.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre holds a photo of herself at age 16, when she says Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein began abusing her sexually
PICTURED: Prince Andrew attends the Sunday Service at the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, England on April 11, 2021 following the announcement of the death of Prince Philip
Earlier this month, interest in the theory that the image was fake was renewed when Lady Victoria Hervey – a British socialite and ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew’s – sensationally repeated claims that the infamous photo was indeed faked.
The 44-year-old socialite and former ‘It Girl’, who is the daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol, doubled down on a claim she made earlier by identifying the set of images she says were used to create the doctored photo.
Hervey claimed the image has been pieced together using a photo taken at Naomi Campbell’s birthday party on board a yacht in St. Tropez in May 2001, in which Virginia can be seen wearing the same white tank top with colorful patterned jeans.
Like Andrew’s lawyers, Hervey does not have a copy of the exact photo from St. Tropez which she claims was used to fake the Prince Andrew image, and it has never been seen publicly. However, she did share a bizarre painted reproduction of the alleged image to Instagram earlier this week.
Lady Victoria added to her baffling claims by saying that an ‘Irish guy’ who was dating one of Epstein’s victims in 2001 and also attended the boat party was used as a ‘body double’ for Prince Andrew in the ‘fake’ image.
In an exclusive interview, Lady Victoria told FEMAIL she has spoken to several victims of Jeffrey Epstein, who said they believe the image was edited by Giuffre and Maria Farmer, another victim who worked as an ‘artist-in-residence’ for Epstein.
Andrew’s lawyers will hope that by getting their hands on the original, the photograph expert will be able to say conclusively if it is real or not.
Giuffre has previously said that she is not certain where the original copy of the photograph is. When she was deposed by lawyers for Maxwell, she said it was ‘not in my possession right now,’ according to the New Zealand Herald.
She said she suspects the photo is ‘probably in some storage boxes’ at her in-laws’ home in Sydney, Australia, that were left there when she and her husband moved.
‘I mean, there’s seven boxes full of Nerf guns, my kids’ toys, photos. I don’t know what other documents would be in there,’ she said at the time.
She also said that she had previously handed the photo over to the FBI who conducted an investigation into Maxwell and Epstein.
When contacted by, DailyMail.com the FBI declined to comment on whether it had seen the photograph, or on whether there was an active investigation on-going into Prince Andrew.
However, in January, the Daily Beast cited a ‘source in Virginia Giuffre’s camp’ saying that ‘they did not know whether Giuffre still has the original of the photo, or whether the original photograph even still existed.’
In November 2019, Andrew was asked about the photograph in a disastrous interview on BBC’s Newsnight program.
Asked whether the photograph could have been faked, he said public displays of affection are ‘not something he would do’ but refused to reveal whether he thought the image was doctored.
He said: ‘Oh it’s definitely me, I mean that’s a picture of me. I don’t believe it’s a picture of me in London because when I go out in London I wear a suit and a tie.
‘That’s what I would describe as my traveling clothes if I’m going to go overseas. There’s plenty of photographs of me dressed in that sort of kit but not there.’
Lady Victoria claimed the image of Virginia was taken at the birthday boat party. The image has never been seen publicly but another of Epstein’s victims has allegedly painted an image of what the original photograph would have looked like (pictured)
The 44-year-old socialite and former ‘It Girl’, who is the daughter of the 6th Marquess of Bristol, repeated claims made by the Duke in his disastrous Newsnight interview that the image may have been doctored
Prince Andrew spoke about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in November 2019
The Prince called it a ‘photograph of a photograph of a photograph’, casting doubt over its veracity.
Sources close to Andrew have previously said there are questions over the veracity of the photo, amid claims the hand round his accuser’s waist does ‘not look right.’
In the interview, the Duke of York said: ‘I’m terribly sorry but if I, as a member of the royal family, and I have a photograph taken and I take very, very few photographs, I am not one to, as it were, hug and public displays of affection are not something that I do.
‘So that’s the best explanation I can give you and I’m afraid to say that I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested.’
He added that the photograph appeared as though it had been taken upstairs in Maxwell’s house, and said that was somewhere he never went – in another questioning remark about the image.
‘Listen, I don’t remember, I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken,’ he said. ‘I don’t remember going upstairs in the house because that photograph was taken upstairs.’
And referring to his hand in the photograph, he said: ‘From the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.
‘So it’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.’
The version of the image that has been reproduced multiple times and shared the world over – a photograph of the photograph – was taken in 2011 by a New Zealand-based photograph, Michael Thomas.
Speaking to New Zealand Herald this week, Thomas said he has no doubts over its authenticity.
‘I have always believed it was real,’ Thomas said. ‘As I have said before it was just an ordinary photo you would have got from a chemist in the days of negatives. Surely if it was fake every media outlet in the world would be getting sued for using it. The fact that isn’t happening, to me says everything.’
Speaking in 2019 about the picture, he said: ‘It wasn’t like she pulled the photo of Prince Andrew out, it was just in among the rest of them. They were just typical teenage snaps. There’s no way that photo is fake.’
THE TIMELINE OF THE INFAMOUS VIRGINIA GIUFFRE AND PRINCE ANDREW PHOTOGRAPH
March 2001 – Infamous photograph 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 while she was living a quiet life with her family on Australia’s Central Coast.
She had been traced by journalist Sharon Churcher, who was investigating reports that the FBI was planning to reopen an investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers by Epstein.
At first she was reluctant to talk, not least because she harboured fears that Epstein might try to kill her.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the time, she produced the picture of Andrew from a white envelope containing a collection of photos chronicling her teenage years and travels with Epstein to New Mexico and Paris.
She explained that the picture with Andrew was taken at Ms Maxwell’s home after a visit to Tramp nightclub – a claim the Duke disputes.
She claimed the photograph was taken in March 2001, two months before the boat party in St Tropez.
She told Churcher at the meeting that she had sex with Andrew three times while a teenager, but for legal reasons the MoS could not publish her claims, which the Duke denies.
The photographs are published by the Mail On Sunday.
November 2019 – Andrew hinted that the hand around her waist may not be his.
Prince Andrew told BBC Newsnight: ‘You can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked because it’s a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.’
‘It’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph being taken…
‘That’s me but whether that’s my hand…I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken.’
December 2019 – Virginia told BBC Panorama that the photo is genuine and she gave the original to the FBI in 2011
February 2022 – Lady Victoria Hervey says victims of Epstein have told her the image was photoshopped by Virginia and Maria Farmer