On July 3, The Telegraph exclusively published a photo that shows Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey relaxing in the throne room at Buckingham Palace. Reportedly from 2002, the image sees Maxwell seated in the Queen's throne and Spacey in Prince Philip's.
Interest in the photo grew after Maxwell was arrested by the FBI on July 2. She faces federal charges related to "her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein," according to the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York.
Spacey, the now disgraced actor, has also faced multiple accusations of sexual assault, though he pled not guilty and a 2019 case against him was dismissed.
Prince Andrew has also faced increased scrutiny following Maxwell's July 2 arrest. His reputation is also still damaged - perhaps irreparably so - in the aftermath of his initial handling of accusations of sexual assault and press related to his previous ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted and now deceased sex offender.
How did Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey get in the throne room?
On Tuesday, People confirmed that it was, in fact, the Duke of York who arranged the Buckingham Palace private tour for Maxwell and Spacey in 2002. But for now, the reports say it remains unclear if Andrew was behind the camera for the photo, if he was in the room at the time, or if he even knew of the incident at all.
Regardless, experts say that it's virtually unheard of to have anyone other than the monarch seated in the thrones.
"You don't see this hardly ever, if ever," People's senior editor Michelle Tauber, said on Tuesday.
CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster said that no one other than the monarch "has the right to sit in [the throne]. That would be seen as a sign of disrespect towards Queen and country." The only greater insult would be for someone to sit on the "senior throne" at St. James's Palace, Foster adds.
Incidentally, the Royal Collection Trust had also recently shared an Instagram post dedicated to the Queen's thrones and their importance in royal history.
Buckingham Palace has yet to address Maxwell-Spacey photo
Buckingham Palace and Prince Andrew have declined to comment on the photograph as of now, multiple outlets have reported.
In People's new report, however, Tauber added that: "Behind the scenes, we expect no one was happy at the palace, including Her Majesty."