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It's hard not to pity Ghislaine Maxwell

18 November 2021

5:00 PM

18 November 2021

5:00 PM

It’s hard not to feel a batsqueak of pity for Ghislaine Maxwell — 500 days and counting in solitary confinement.

I intersected briefly with her at Oxford. As a fresher I wandered into Balliol JCR one day in search of its subsidised breakfast granola-and-Nescafé offering and found a shiny glamazon with naughty eyes holding court astride a table, a high-heeled boot resting on my brother Boris’s thigh. She gave me a pitying glance but I did manage to snag an invite to her party in Headington Hill Hall — even though I wasn’t in the same college as her and Boris.


I have a memory of her father, Bob, coming out in a towelling robe and telling us all to go home. I’m sure fairweather friends would not reveal they went to a Ghislaine Maxwell party: as Barbara Amiel’s brilliant memoir Friends and Enemies proves, you only know who your real chums are when you’re in the gutter.

This is an extract from the Diary column from the upcoming edition of The Spectator.

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