Ghislaine Maxwell (born 25 December 1961) is a British socialite and the youngest child of publisher Robert Maxwell. Maxwell moved to the United States after her father's death and has become an advocate for the ocean as the founder of The TerraMar Project.
Maxwell was born in 1961, the ninth and youngest child of Elisabeth (née Meynard), a French Protestant and Robert Maxwell, a Jewish Czech-born British media proprietor. Maxwell attended Headington School, Marlborough College, and Oxford University's Balliol College.
She founded a successful women's club named after the original Kit-Cat Club Maxwell was also a director of Oxford United F.C., during her father's ownership of the club. Maxwell was fined £1,000 and banned from driving for one year in August 1996 after driving while intoxicated.
Her father named his luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine in her honour, and it was near the yacht in the Canary Islands in 1991 that his body was found floating in the sea. Though a verdict of death by accidental drowning was recorded, Maxwell has since stated that she believes her father was murdered, commenting in 1997 that "He did not commit suicide. That was just not consistent with his character. I think he was murdered." After his death, Robert Maxwell was found to have fraudulently appropriated the pension assets of his Mirror Group Newspapers to support its share price and was disgraced.
Maxwell moved to the United States after her father's death, and has since become a prominent socialite in New York City. After moving to America, Maxwell and the billionaire American financier Jeffrey Epstein had a romantic relationship, and Maxwell remained close to him after their break-up. Maxwell has attracted press coverage for her friendship with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, who has attended social functions with her in New York. Maxwell introduced Epstein to Andrew and the three of them have socialised together on several occasions including attending a weekend pheasant shoot at Sandringham House. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution and served 13 months of an 18-month jail sentence. In an American court case that was made public in January 2015, a woman identified as 'Jane Doe 3' said she was approached by Maxwell in 1999, and claimed that Maxwell procured under-age girls to have sex with Epstein. Maxwell has always denied any involvement in Epstein's crimes. In a 2015 statement, Maxwell rejected allegations that she has acted as a "madame for Epstein" and "facilitated Prince Andrew's acts of sexual abuse". Maxwell's spokesperson said that "the allegations made against Ghislaine Maxwell are untrue" and that she "strongly denies allegations of an unsavoury nature, which have appeared in the British press and elsewhere and reserves her right to seek redress at the repetition of such old defamatory claims."
A 2011 Vanity Fair article on Maxwell and Epstein's relationship by Vicky Ward spoke of Maxwell's sociability stating that "She is always interesting, the most vivacious, the most unusual person in any room. I've spent hours talking to her about the Third World at a bar until two a.m. She is as passionate as she is knowledgeable. She is curious. Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of—probably even Rupert Murdoch’s. She is very well read and can talk about most things for hours. She is passionate about Bill Clinton, with whom she is close friends."
Maxwell is a qualified deep sea diver, submersible pilot, helicopter pilot, emergency medical technician (EMT), and is an advocate for the ocean regarding climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing.
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