Fact Check: Is Kevin Spacey, Ghislaine Maxwell Buckingham Palace Pic Real?

As Kevin Spacey faces four new charges of sexual assault in the U.K., photos of the the disgraced actor with other infamous faces have resurfaced online. One in particular shows the American Beauty star sitting in a regal chair throne in Buckingham Palace alongside convicted sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

Maxwell, a fixer for the late Jeffrey Epstein, was convicted of federal sex trafficking charges in December 2021. She has been pictured alongside many prominent public figures including Elon Musk, Donald Trump and (perhaps most infamously) Queen Elizabeth II's second eldest son Prince Andrew.

But is the picture shared on social media of Spacey and Maxwell authentic?

Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey
In this combination photo, Ghislaine Maxwell (L) and Kevin Spacey (R). A picture of Maxwell and Spacey together apparently sitting on a throne in the Buckingham Palace has spread online. Getty

The Claim

A photo of what appears to show Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey sitting on the Pair of Chairs of Estate in Buckingham Palace's Throne Room, was retweeted by a number of accounts in May 2022.

The post's retweet claims the chairs "are meant for the Queen and Prince Philip" which "The Queen herself hasn't sat in... since 1953."

The image has previously been shared by other prominent accounts, including conservative commentator Jack Posobiec and WikiLeaksUS.

The Facts

The photo of Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey has been circulating since 2020 and was featured on the front page of the New York Post, among other media coverage.

The photo was published as an exclusive by U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph, in July 2020.

While Newsweek could not independently verify how the circumstances of the photo came about, a source who spoke to the British paper had claimed Spacey was invited to Buckingham Palace for a tour organized by Prince Andrew in 2002. The Telegraph said Maxwell "came along as a friend of the Duke (Prince Andrew)."

Although Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly not on the same tour, the paper reported Epstein had visited the royal residences of Sandringham and Windsor Castle as a guest of Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew in Virginia Giuffre's Famous Photo
Prince Andrew puts his arm around Virginia Giuffre while Ghislaine Maxwell watches on in the famous picture she submitted as part of her sexual abuse lawsuit against him. Giuffre said the image was taken by Jeffrey Epstein on her camera in London, in 2001. Virginia Giuffre

A follow-up story by the Telegraph claimed the chairs, as described in the tweet, were the same seats used in Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 and their use by Maxwell and Spacey was "in breach of all protocol."

Maxwell was said to be sitting in the same seat occupied by the Queen, while Spacey was pictured in the place "normally occupied by the Duke of Edinburgh."

"They were larking about on the thrones, doing regal waves," a source told The Telegraph.

"Ghislaine sat on the Queen's throne with Spacey pretending to be the Duke of Edinburgh."

According to the Royal Collection Trust, the Queen's chair was made in 1953 for the coronation, while the Duke of Edinburgh's was made after the ceremony. They feature embroidery on their backs with the ciphers EIIR for the Queen and P for Prince Philip, who died on April 9, 2021.

Although Newsweek was unable to find guidance online which explicitly states whether the chairs may be used by visitors to the Throne Room, it seems highly unlikely that such a permission would be widely granted.

Whether the Queen has sat in either of the chairs since 1953 is almost impossible to verify.

Queen Elizabeth Throne Room
The Pair of Chairs of Estate, used by Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey, can be seen in the background of this photo of Queen Elizabeth II presenting The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering to Dr Robert Langer during a reception in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace on October 26, 2015, London, England. Jonathan Brady/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kevin Spacey, 62, who recently reappeared in a trailer for indie thriller "Peter Five Eight," was charged in May 2022 with four counts of sexual assault against three men, according to a statement by the head of the U.K's Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime Division.

Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, who was found guilty of her role in aiding convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in sexually abusing underage girls, had a motion to overturn her conviction denied by the U.S. appeals court judge in April 2022.

Prince Andrew, who reportedly organized the tour for Spacey and Maxwell, recently settled a civil lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre, a woman who accused him of raping her when she was a teenager.

Giuffre claimed she was raped when she was a 17-year-old sex trafficking victim of the prince's friend, Jeffrey Epstein. The Prince has always denied the allegations.

Newsweek has contacted Buckingham Palace and The Daily Telegraph for comment.

The Ruling

Fact Check - True


The photo, thought to have been taken in 2002, does show Spacey and Maxwell sitting on the Pair of Chairs of Estate, found in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace. Multiple media outlets reported that Ghislaine Maxwell and Kevin Spacey were invited to the palace as part of a tour organized by Prince Andrew. Although we can't verify whether or not the Queen has sat in either of the chairs since the Coronation, it seems highly doubtful the palace would permit guests to use them.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek's Fact Check team