This party ought to have been part of an undergraduate social event. 

Headington Hill Hall’s 53-room Italianate home, Headington Hill Hall was floodlit with candles and covered in marquees. The catering was ‘beyond lavish’.

Magnums of champagne and a powerful sound system would further fuel the party spirit as Ghislaine Maxwell, Balliol undergraduate, ‘social queen of Oxford’ and Daddy’s favourite child, celebrated her coming of age in the company of a couple of hundred other Bright Young Things.

‘There was a lot of drinking and some surreptitious drug-taking,’ recalls one of the guests, who had known Maxwell from her time at Marlborough public school. ‘Someone, inevitably, fell fully clothed into the swimming pool. 

It’s all part of the fun at this event. Nothing to worry about. However, just minutes before midnight, all the music abruptly stopped. All of us were ordered to get out when the lights went on.

‘I remember her father being there, watching the festivities. He didn’t look very happy and, obviously, he didn’t like what he saw. So he pulled the plug, as if it were Ghislaine’s 11th birthday rather than her 21st.’

In 1982, the fun was abruptly over. But it would be another four tumultuous decades before the party was truly over for the ‘vivacious’ and ‘bulletproof’ socialite known as ‘Good Time Ghislaine’.

She spent her latest red-letter birthday – her 60th, which fell on Christmas Day – behind bars. And now she is a newly convicted sex criminal; a confirmed paedophile and child-trafficker, deserted by the rich and famous ‘friends’ whose contact details appeared in Jeffrey Epstein’s notorious little black address book.  

Once a well-heeled member of London and New York's social scene and daughter of a newspaper tycoon, Ghislaine Maxwell now faces life in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking charges on Wednesday. Pictured: Maxwell holding a photo of her late father Robert Maxwell in 1991

Ghislaine Maxwell was once a wealthy member of New York and London’s social scene. She is now facing life imprisonment after she was convicted on Wednesday of sex trafficking. Pictured: Maxwell holds a photograph of Robert Maxwell, her father in 1991.

Ghislaine Maxwell

Ghislaine Maxwell

Maxwell maintained her innocence regarding all allegations against Epstein of having procured young women and engaged in sexual assault. The eldest victim she allegedly assaulted was 14-years old. 

One photo shows Maxwell kissing the Jeffrey Epstein's cheek with her arms wrapped around him

One photo shows Maxwell kissing the Jeffrey Epstein’s cheek with her arms wrapped around him

They were not prepared to take on the risk of their positions in high society. A toxic pariah is the woman with the greatest connections in Manhattan and London. 

Ghislaine Maxwell’s story is two-part tragedy. She was not the first to be hurt. Her father was a financial criminal, a fantasist, and a megalomaniac. 

Maxwell is a tragic example of how one cannot choose their family.

However, the second act was nearly entirely hers. Ghislaine had the option of choosing a new path when Robert Maxwell died from the superyacht named for him.

Instead, she almost immediately took up with a man of similar mien; a financier, smoke-and-mirrors crook and substitute ‘Daddy’ figure who would provide the extreme wealth she was used to. 

In return, Maxwell groomed and pimped the underage girls who were Epstein’s means of sexual gratification. She abused them often with Epstein.

And she was rewarded with the kind of ultra-sybaritic lifestyle that tempted US presidents, a British prince, Silicon Valley titans and Hollywood stars to join her on the passenger manifest of Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ private jet. 

Robert Maxwell (back row, center) pictured with his wife Betty (sat with youngest daughter Ghislaine on her knee) and seven of their eight children at home in Headington Hill Hall, Oxford. When this photo was taken Ian (5) was 11 years old and attending preparatory school, while Isabel, then 17 (4) was at grammar school with their sister Christine (3), and youngest son Kevin, 8, (6) was at preparatory school. Second oldest son Philip, (1), had entered his second undergraduate year at Balliol College, Oxford, while Anne (2) was also studying at the university, but at St Hugh's College. Michael, the eldest, was terminally ill after a car crash

Robert Maxwell (back row center), pictured sitting with Betty Maxwell (sitting with their youngest daughter Ghislaine at her knee) as well as seven of their eight kids, in Headington Hill Hall Oxford. Ian was eleven years old when this photograph was taken. Isabel was 17 and was going to grammar school. Kevin was eight and was also attending preparatory. Anne (2) was still studying at St Hugh’s College while Anne (1) had just entered her second year as an undergraduate at Balliol College in Oxford. Philip, his oldest son, was the second. Michael, Michael the oldest, died in his final days after an accident.

One must look at her hard-scrabble upbringing and her father’s ruthless ambition to understand the reasons she went down the path of moral destruction.

Jan Hoch was Robert Maxwell’s father. He was born in Solotvyno in Czechoslovakia in 1923. Maxwell’s parents were Orthodox Jews from poor backgrounds who spoke Yiddish. Maxwell said that Maxwell did not have his first pair of shoes until he was 4. The Hochs lived in a wooden two-room shack, where their nine children lived in squalor.

Jan, the first born, was tall and intelligent, loved by his mother. His mother expected him to become a priest, but he had other plans. 

When Czechoslovakia’s neighbours were tearing it up and Europe was only weeks away from war, at 16, he quit his Talmudic study. After many adventures – real or imagined – he joined the Czech army in exile in France. 

Ghislaine was Robert Maxwell's youngest child, born on Christmas Day 1961 She's pictured with her father in 1984

Ghislaine was Robert Maxwell’s youngest daughter, and she was born on Christmas Day 1961. This photo shows her with her dad in 1984

Ghislaine Maxwell is seen sifting through the mountain's of 'Draw Coupon' entries at Maxwell House in 1984 - before getting involved with Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell can be seen looking through the mountains of ‘Draw Coupons’ entries at Maxwell House, 1984 before she got involved with Jeffrey Epstein 

He joined the British Army as an NCO after the fall of France and started using the name Ivan du Maurier. Jan Hoch was now Robert Maxwell by the time that he received his commission. Cap’n Bob was born. Or, rather, self-created.


Along the way, he had also acquired a French wife – Betty – and a rather strange, quasi-upper-crust British accent. When peace was achieved, there was nothing left to return to. He and his siblings, along with many others in his family, perished during the Holocaust.

Instead, he began to build a business empire through the acquisition of Pergamon Press’s scientific book publisher. According to Betty, he also wanted to recreate the family he lost in the war — and so there would be nine Maxwell children. Ghislaine was last.

Children are often the least noticed or mollycoddled in a family.

Ian Maxwell said his sister's relationship with Epstein developed after the family advised her to remain in the U.S. because the Maxwell name was 'in the dirt' at home

Ian Maxwell claimed that Epstein became close to his sister after her family encouraged her to stay in the U.S., as the Maxwell name is ‘inthe dirt’ back home.

Ghislaine spent the first half of her life with her father, a rags-to-riches billionaire who looted his companies’ pension funds before dying a mysterious death when he fell off his superyacht - named The Lady Ghislaine (pictured)

Ghislaine spent the first half of her life with her father, a rags-to-riches billionaire who looted his companies’ pension funds before dying a mysterious death when he fell off his superyacht – named The Lady Ghislaine (pictured) 

Ghislaine had both extremes because her birth in the world was overshadowed with family tragedy. The 15-year old Michael Maxwell, her eldest son, was killed in a car accident three days after Ghislaine was born. He was unconscious for seven years and died shortly after.

The accident left his siblings and parents devastated. Betty, who rushed home from the French maternity hospital, was to keep a daily vigil beside Michael’s bed. Baby Ghislaine – her exotic first name a belated acknowledgement of her mother’s nationality – was all but forgotten.

‘She was hardly given a glance and became anorexic while still a toddler,’ Betty later admitted. Robert Maxwell’s attitude toward his children changed because of the crash, John Preston writes in Fall, his acclaimed biography of the tycoon.

‘The most obvious thing was we were effectively confined to barracks,’ Ghislaine’s brother Ian recalled. ‘ He had this horror of something happening to another of us . I think it was especially hard for my sister Ghislaine because she was basically ignored.’

Robert Maxwell (middle) at a party on his yacht with daughter Ghislaine (left) and wife Elisabeth (right)

Robert Maxwell (middle), at a yacht party with his daughter Ghislaine and Elisabeth.

The family’s life was forever changed. One day, aged three, the neglected child stood in front of her still-grieving mother and said: ‘Mummy, I exist.’ Betty was ‘devastated’ by Ghislaine’s precocious plea for affection. ‘In an attempt to compensate for the fact that she had been neglected, her parents began showering Ghislaine with attention,’ Preston writes.

Ignored child to father’s favourite

‘Pretty, coquettish and indulged, she soon became her father’s favourite. Perhaps her father saw something of his younger self in Ghislaine’s wilfulness, her refusal to compromise and her apparently cast-iron belief in her own allure.’ Betty would later note the predictable result. Ghislaine ‘became spoilt,’ she recalled. ‘The only one of my children I can truly say that about.’ Ghislaine attended Oxford High School for Girls, then boarded at a prep school in Somerset before returning to Oxford and Headington School.

They were all fascinated with her, as she and her siblings lived in an apartment complete with a staff member and limousines. However, life at home was often difficult and sometimes brutal.

The father was a Labour MP who occasionally visited the home. He demanded the children demonstrate their knowledge at mealtimes. If a child’s discourse failed to meet his approval, the meal would be interrupted while he beat the miscreant – boy or girl – with a belt.

For school failures or for untruths, beatings could also be used. ‘Bob would shout and threaten and rant at the children until they were reduced to pulp,’ Betty admitted in her memoir.

The couple appear in one photo in what appears to be a European city. Ghislaine is seen kissing Jeffrey on the cheek. Many have testified that they believed Epstein and Ghislaine were boyfriend and girlfriend

They are seen in one photograph in what looks like a European town. Jeffrey is kissed on the cheek by Ghislaine. Many witnesses have said that Ghislaine kissed Jeffrey on the cheek and Epstein was their boyfriend/girlfriend. 

A much younger Maxwell and Epstein are seen on a motorcycle together. The undated photo was submitted into evidence by the prosecution in the sex trafficking case against Maxwell

Maxwell, a younger version of Epstein can be seen riding a motorcycle with Epstein. This undated photo was taken by Maxwell’s prosecution for his sex trafficking trial. 

Marlborough Public School in Wiltshire, was the place where his youngest daughter completed secondary school.

It was there that ‘Good Time Ghislaine’ began to emerge, like a butterfly from the stifling Headington cocoon. ‘I liked her, very much,’ one contemporary told the Mail. ‘She was a vivacious, flirty, very pretty girl. Good fun and naughty.’

But Ghislaine’s education, both intellectual and social, had to be completed. This meant that Ghislaine had to go to Oxford University.

This was the problem. Ghislaine, despite her daredevil spirit and charisma, was not an academic. ‘She was never considered one of the brainy ones at school,’ a Marlborough contemporary confirms.

So how did she manage to get in at Balliol College, the most highly regarded Oxford college? One explanation is available. In 1965, Ghislaine’s father – then MP for Buckingham – instituted the Robert Maxwell Fellowship in Politics. It was to be given to Balliol.

Balliol was the college that Boris Johnson attended, as well as several other prime ministers. Also, Ian, Ghislaine and Kevin Maxwell.

Even though she was rejected for her first entrance exam, it is believed that she received a second chance. What is the power of money?

The jury in Maxwell 's trial was shown these photos on Tuesday and speak to the close relationship between the pair, which prosecutors have characterize as 'partners in crime'

On Tuesday, the jury at Maxwell’s trial saw these photographs. It speaks to Maxwell and Maxwell’s close relationship. Prosecutors have called them ‘partners of crime.

While an undergraduate reading modern history and modern languages, Maxwell’s reputation as a party animal, social tornado and networking queen grew.

Queen of Oxford 

The company of men was what she liked and that is why she enjoyed hanging out with tough-drinking, restaurant-trashing Bullingdon Club members. They were so fazed of her, why would they? She was Robert Maxwell’s daughter.

Prince Andrew wasn’t at the university, but Maxwell was there when she met him. Maxwell shared accommodations with an English aristocrat and a jewel heiress, as well as the daughter of an Old Etonian Liberal peer.

These student parties weren’t typical. Two limousines from Headington Hill Hall arrived before one of them to punish Filipino domestic workers and all their food.

These images were obtained during a 2019 FBI raid of Epstein's Manhattan mansion and offer graphic insight into their high-flying lifestyle

These photos were taken during an FBI raid on Epstein’s Manhattan home in 2019. They offer a graphic look into Epstein and his high-flying lifestyle.

Cap’n Bob, who bought Mirror Group Newspapers in 1984, was simply investing in his youngest and most loved. Ghislaine was the front-of-house while her brother Ian and Kevin were working in the boards of their family business empire.

Her father appointed her to the role of director at Oxford United Football Club when she was 22, while still studying undergrad. He had purchased it two years earlier. She was ‘the youngest and best-looking director in the league’, it was reported.

Ghislaine gamely professed her love of football and was often photographed next to her father in the directors’ box. Perhaps it is not surprising she didn’t shine at her finals. Ghislaine Maxill graduated in the summer 1985 with a degree of third class. She was at the bottom of her class.

Boat named after her 

Did it really make a difference? Her other strengths were also evident. Daddy loved Betty and his Maxwell children more than Betty or any other Maxwell daughter. The tycoon also invited his daughter to join him at a Dutch shipyard to further illustrate the pecking order.

The couple appeared to vacation to a cold destination. Seen together with warm coats and large fur hats in an undated photo

They appeared to be on vacation in a cold place. The couple were pictured in an undated photo together, wearing large fur hats and warm coats. 

Emad Khashoggi, an Arab businessman had ordered a superyacht measuring 55 metres. But before delivery, Khashoggi changed his mind. Robert Maxwell offered to buy the boat with four stories.

His daughter, who was not aware of the situation, was asked to break a glass of champagne on the Dutch shipyard. The Lady Ghislaine was thus renamed.

Ghislaine was set up with her own company — Maxwell Corporate Gifts. She was a consultant when her father founded The European newspaper, May 1990.

She was then dispatched to New York as ‘emissary’ for her father as he bought the city’s ailing Daily News. Her father gave her a condo overlooking Central Park. However, she was determined to have thick skin. While she remained Daddy’s girl, he often crushed her.

In his book Maxwell: The Final Verdict, Tom Bower described how Ghislaine, then 29, was reduced to tears and had to write her father a pitiful note of apology for failing to – in his eyes – adequately report a dinner in New York she had attended on his behalf. ‘I am very sorry my description of the dinner … made you angry,’ she wrote. ‘Please forgive me.’

The ability of her to raise people was undeniable. Years later, after the Epstein scandal had first broken and he went briefly to jail, the writer Vicky Ward would declare: ‘I like her. New Yorkers love her. It’s almost impossible not to.

‘She is always the most interesting, the most vivacious, the most unusual person in any room. Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else’s I can think of.’

The pair are seen sitting in the grass with a dog in this undated photo submitted into evidence by the government

This undated photograph, submitted by the government as evidence of the case, shows the pair sitting together in the grass and a dog. 

A photograph taken in London at a party in June 1991 seems to best capture Ghislaine Maxill’s essence as she enters her 30s. The family business was seemingly sweeping the globe. Just moments ago, she turned aside from Susannah Constantine and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. She seems to be in rapture. But unknown to her — and the world — Daddy’s empire was billions of dollars in debt and about to fall apart. Cap’n Bob was desperately laundering money and pension funds to stave off bankruptcy.

Assistance in Recovery and Disaster Management 

When Robert Maxwell went overboard from the Lady Ghislaine off the Canary Islands in November 1991, the extent of his theft became clear, not least the £426 million hole in the Mirror pension fund.

However, she stood behind her father. He had given her a trust fund tied to a Lichtenstein banking. These payments were continued long after Maxwell’s collapse. In an interview with Vanity Fair the following year Ghislaine said: ‘He wasn’t a crook – a thief, to me, is someone who steals money. Does that sound like my father? No.’

Epstein appears with his arm around Ghislaine as he takes a phone call in this evidence photo

Epstein is seen with Ghislaine wrapped around his arm as he makes a call to this evidence photo. 

Prosecutors have characterized Epstein and Maxwell as being 'partners in crime'. Maxwell is seen in this evidence photo cuddling up to Epstein

According to the prosecution, Maxwell and Epstein were referred to as ‘partners of crime’. In this evidence photo, Maxwell can be seen cuddling up with Epstein in the photos. 

At that point, she was living in New York. She told Vanity Fair: ‘We’ll be back. Watch this space.’ And by late 1992 she had met her father’s replacement: Epstein. By 1996, ‘broke’ Ghislaine was the queen bee of Manhattan again, rubbing shoulders with the great and good and spending a reported £20,000 a month on her Visa card alone.

A ‘friend’ reportedly said her dependence on Epstein was ‘pretty total’ but that ‘he can treat her very well or very badly. He treats her like a child. He can be impatient, demanding and extremely critical’.

It sounded so familiar.

Epstein has died. Maxwell will have to answer the public for all of their paedophile abuse. She was not approached by anyone from her past who wanted to talk on record. One exception.

Jonathan Aitken has known the Maxwells since the 1960s, when he was close to Ghislaine’s sister Anne. His own downfall was when he was imprisoned for perjury as well as perverting the course or justice. Ghislaine’s niece wrote to him every week when he was behind bars.

He said: ‘Ghislaine was the daughter of a dictator, tyrant, king. Despite what we heard at court, I still believe that there are good qualities in her. She trusted her father more than she should. And I think she did the same with Epstein.’