Archive footage shows Maxwell on board the yacht Lady Ghislaine after her father's death

 Split photo of Ghislaine Maxwell, Robert Maxwell, and the yacht
The Lady Ghislaine was moored in Tenerife, in the Spanish Canary Islands, when Robert Maxwell disappeared. Credit: PA

There has been intense interest in Ghislaine Maxwell since her arrest last week by the FBI, but her journey to New York's social circuit and her friendship with Jeffrey Epstein started after the sudden, and mysterious death of her father.

We have trawled our archives and restored the statement Ghislaine Maxwell made on board the yacht from which her father, Robert Maxwell, disappeared and drowned.

Her father had named the yacht - The Lady Ghislaine – and on that November day in 1991, it was moored in Tenerife, in the Spanish Canary Islands.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s father Robert outside their family home in Oxfordshire. Credit: PA

Ghislaine Maxwell had arrived on the island on the previous evening with her mother Elizabeth.

The body of Robert Maxwell, the publishing giant and owner of the Mirror newspaper titles, had just been found in the sea.

 Ghislaine spoke from the deck of the yacht in what sounds like perfect Spanish.

 "On behalf of my mother and brothers," she began and went on to thank the police and military in Tenerife who had helped with the search for her father.



She then switched to English.

 "I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the many hundreds of people who have sent messages of support to us at this very, very sad time.

"I want also to thank the press for their courtesy and consideration to my mother and to us at this time, which we appreciate very much."

She finished by saying: "Gracias a todos and thank you very much."

Robert Maxwell’s luxury yacht, the Lady Ghislaine. Credit: PA

It is a reminder of the very public nature of her father's death as well as the controversy and huge debts he left his family to deal with.

Mr Maxwell's business empire was teetering on the brink of insolvency and - while sailing on board his yacht - Maxwell had fallen into the sea and drowned.

Was he pushed? Did he have a heart attack? Was it suicide?

The conspiracy theories grew, but the reason for him falling into the water was unclear – and pathologists could only agree that he had drowned – not how he had tumbled.

Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew have been described as 'close' friends. Credit: PA

Nevetheless, it quickly transpired that his businesses were propped up with huge amounts of debt and Robert Maxwell had raided in excess of £400 million from the Mirror Group's pension fund.

The events of November 1991 might explain, in part, why Robert Maxwell's youngest daughter decided to relocate to New York.

It was in the city that her friendship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein later began.

Ghislaine Maxwell faces six federal charges, including four for the grooming and recruitment of girls for underage sex.

She also faces two counts of perjury. 

Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in jail last August as he awaited trial. Credit: AP/PA

But the many victims of Epstein's abhorrent crimes have made many further accusations against Ms Maxwell - and their lawyers do expect the FBI indictment to be expanded in future weeks and months.

Ghislaine Maxwell is now being held in custody in New York after being moved from New Hampshire, where she was arrested in a large mansion last week.

She is expected to appear in a courtroom in the coming days.

In 2020, as in 1991, the name Maxwell is destined to dominate the news once again.