The former couple visited Balmoral as a guest of Prince Andrew in 1999
An image of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell arm-in-arm at the Queen’s Balmoral estate has been released in the socialite’s sex-trafficking trial.
The image, believed to have been taken in 1999, shows Epstein and Ms Maxwell lounging on a bench on the deck of a log cabin on the grounds of the sprawling Royal home in the Scottish Highlands.
Epstein’s arm is outstretched on the bench behind Ms Maxwell, who has one of her hands draped across his legs.
A separate photo shows the Queen in the exact same spot with a plate balanced on her knee, and a red-coloured beverage with a slice of lemon nearby.
It had previously been reported that Prince Andrew took the pair to Balmoral in 1999.
The image was one of 19 photos shown to the jury during Ms Maxwell’s trial on charges of sex-trafficking minors between 1994 et 2004.
The images show Ms Maxwell giving Epstein foot massages onboard his private jet, dubbed the “Lolita Express”, and in affectionate embraces on trips around the world.
The photos were found on CDs taken from a 2019 FBI raid on Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse.
Prosecutors told the court that the pair were a couple for a time and that their relationship later amounted to being close friends. Ms Maxwell was the “lady of the house” at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion, a house manager testified in the trial, and ran his private residences like “five star hotels”.
Mme Maxwell, 59, is accused of grooming four underage girls between 1994 et 2004 and flying them to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion. Some of the abuses are also alleged to have occurred at his Manhattan townhouse, a ranch in New Mexico, an apartment in Paris, and on his estate in the Virgin Islands.
She has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Epstein was arrested in July 2019 and died by suicide in prison a month later while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Le courrier quotidien signalé dans 2019 that Prince Andrew had hosted Epstein at Balmoral in mid-1999 along with an entourage which included young women.
One of the group told The Mail they had stayed in the 52-room castle before being entertained on the grounds of the 50,000 acre estate.
Dubbed the Royals’ favourite Scottish getaway, Queen Elizabeth has spent summers at the Aberdeenshire castle for decades.
Epstein and Ms Maxwell also attended a Royal party in June 2000 at Windsor Castle to celebrate Prince Andrew’s 40th birthday.
L'indépendant attempted to reach Buckingham Palace for comment.