As new details are released in Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, one piece of evidence will have sent a chill down Her Majesty the Queen’s spine.
A photo of Maxwell and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein relaxing at one of Her Majesty's most private and beloved spots emerged this week as part of the prosecution’s case.
The pair are snuggling up to one another on the decking outside the Queen’s beloved "lunch hut" near Balmoral Castle.
Royal author Christopher Andersen the Queen would be "sickened" to see the pair in that spot.
"Her log cabin was one of her favourite spots on the planet – a haven deep within a haven – and one can imagine she now feels, on a deeply personal level, violated."
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He goes on to speculate that Prince Andrew might even have introduced Epstein and Maxwell to his mother at Balmoral.
"If he did, the sense of betrayal would cut that much deeper," Andersen told the Daily Beast.
Prince Andrew 'plotting return to public life' after Jeffrey Epstein scandal
Balmoral has been in the Queen’s family since 1852 when the estate was purchased by Prince Albert, who went on to have the current castle built.
It’s one of a small number of royal residences that are owned outright by the family, rather than being part of the Crown Estate.
Her Majesty tends to spend most of her summers at Balmoral, and the sprawling 50,000-acre estate is said one of her favourite homes.
Princess Eugenie said in the ITV documentary, Our Queen at Ninety: "I think Granny is the most happy there, I think she really, really loves the Highlands."
The photograph of Epstein and Maxwell on the estate is thought to have been taken in 1999 when the pair were invited to the royal Sumer residence by Prince Andrew.
Pictures have also emerged of Maxwell and disgraced actor Kevin Spacey posing on the thrones at Buckingham Palace.
A palace insider claimed: "Letting his friends sit on the thrones was a well-known part of Andrew’s routine."
Maxwell faces six separate charges, including sex trafficking of a minor, for allegations of offences that the prosecution claims took place between 1994 and 2004.
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