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Proof Prince Andrew Photo Is Not a Fake

The Mail on Sunday today reveals crucial evidence that the infamous picture of Prince Andrew with his alleged teenage sex victim is genuine – demolishing claims by the Duke and his supporters that it could be fake.

The photograph of Andrew with his arm around 17-year-old Virginia Roberts has dogged him since it was first published by The Mail on Sunday 12 years ago and ultimately led to his downfall.

Since then, the 62-year-old Prince has suggested the devastating photograph could have been altered with digital trickery, while his former friend, jailed sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, claimed just last week that it is a fraud.

But this newspaper can prove the picture was an ordinary printed photograph developed at a one-hour photo lab that would have been virtually impossible to doctor.

Our sensational evidence undermines the Duke’s dramatic bid, revealed exclusively in last week’s MoS, to overturn the multi-million pound settlement he struck with Miss Roberts and restore his battered reputation.

This newspaper first published the photograph showing Andrew, then 41, grinning with his arm around Miss Roberts at Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia, London, on February 27 2011.

The picture, which shows Maxwell in the background, had been taken nearly a decade earlier by paedophile Jeffrey Epstein using Miss Roberts’ camera.

In devastating legal testimony, Miss Roberts, now 39 and using her married name Giuffre, claimed the picture was taken the night she had sex with Andrew at Epstein and Maxwell’s bidding, after the pair had danced at Tramp nightclub in London.

Andrew has repeatedly and strenuously denied the allegations and during an interview with BBC Newsnight in 2019 attempted to cast doubt on the photo’s authenticity. ‘Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken,’ he said.

Last week, in a televised prison interview Maxwell -– who is serving a 20-year sentence for sex trafficking – declared: ‘It is a fake. I don’t believe it’s real for a second, in fact I am sure it’s not. There has never been an original and further there is no photograph.’

Miss Roberts first showed the picture, which had been taken on a yellow Kodak camera, to MoS reporter Sharon Churcher and photographer Michael Thomas at her modest bungalow on Australia’s Central Coast in February 2011.

Ms Churcher was investigating a mysterious civil writ filed in a Florida court in 2009 by a woman identified only as ‘Jane Doe 102’ who claimed she had been sexually exploited by friends of financier Epstein ‘including royalty’.

After meticulously piecing together a string of clues, Ms Churcher discovered that the writ had been filed by a woman named Virginia Roberts and that she had moved to Australia. The picture featuring Prince Andrew had been kept with more than a dozen others from Miss Roberts’ time with Epstein in a white envelope that was stuffed in a bookcase.

Realising its enormous significance, the journalists met Miss Roberts the following day at a Crowne Plaza hotel in the nearby town of Terrigal where she allowed Mr Thomas to take photographs of the original print – standard practice for newspaper photographers handling sensitive pictures.

‘She handed me the photograph and I put it on the table in the hotel room and I copied it,’ Mr Thomas, a photographer of 37 years’ experience, told the MoS last night.

‘I think I took more than 30 frames, which is overkill for copying one photo but I didn’t want to get it out of focus or get it wrong because I knew how important it was.’

He was in no doubt the photo was genuine. ‘I was holding the original photo in my hand. It was a normal 6×4 inch print that you would have got from any developer at the time.

‘It looked like it was ten years old. It wasn’t crisp because it had been developed in 2001. She had held on to it for ten years by the time I saw it. For Ghislaine Maxwell to come out and say it was fake is ridiculous. I held the photo. It was a normal photograph. It was a physical print. It exists. I saw it and that’s what I photographed and that’s what you see now.’

Since then, the set of duplicates have sat on a hard drive in the office of Mr Thomas’s home near Queenstown in New Zealand. But last Monday, while driving home from a DIY store, he was infuriated to hear a report on the radio in which Maxwell insisted the photograph was fake. ‘I thought, ‘here we go again’. When they say it’s fake, they are saying that I’m involved. They are basically accusing someone of faking it and me being party to it. It’s not fake – and it never has been.’

Determined to kill the conspiracy theory once and for all, Mr Thomas examined his pictures from more than a decade ago and, to his surprise, realised that as well as taking 36 separate shots of the front of Ms Roberts’ photograph he had also turned the picture over and taken three shots of its reverse. Those images – published exclusively for the first time today – reveal a stamp that contains crucial new information. The stamp reads: ‘000 #15 13Mar01 Walgreens One Hour Photo’.

Experts say this proves the original photo was developed at Walgreens – a huge pharmacy chain similar to Boots – in one hour on March 13, 2001

READ 12 COMMENTS
  • ton says:

    Has anyone ever explained what Ms Roberts was doing there, how did she get there ? Was she a willing guest or kidnapped ? Yes, none of it is good, but 17 is really not like child molesting. I’m sure, for extorsion purposes, Epstein has some hidden camera videos of the Prince Boffing this babe.

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