But yesterday – as she celebrated her 60th birthday as well as Christmas Day in a 9ft by 7ft prison cell – Ghislaine Maxwell was facing the possibility of a very different reality to the champagne lifestyle she once enjoyed.
The former British socialite could face the rest of her life behind bars if convicted this week on six counts of child sex trafficking, when the jury at her New York trial returns from a holiday break in deliberations.
Ms Maxwell, who did not testify in her own defence, has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denies claims she “procured and groomed” underage girls for late Wall Street tycoon and convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein’s elite friends included Prince Andrew, who is facing a civil case that will resume in the New Year and has been brought by an alleged former Epstein “sex slave” who claims she too was recruited by Ms Maxwell.
The prince has categorically denied all wrongdoing.
Epstein’s New York address was a £58million gilded mansion on the Upper East Side and was known as one of the most prestigious in the entire city. Seven storeys high and with a 50-foot frontage, the neoclassical mansion was designed for an heir to the Macy’s department store fortune, whose father died on the Titanic. It featured chairs in leopard print and a giant sculpture of a naked African warrior.
Ms Maxwell was also no stranger to luxury, growing up with her family in Headington Hill Hall in Oxfordshire, a 53-room property where her father Robert ran his publishing empire.
Yesterday, the parties she attended and threw in London, New York and on Epstein‘s private Caribbean island must have seemed a far cry from the seasonal fare on offer at the grim, rat-infested Metropolitan Detention Centre in Brooklyn.
In conditions described by her family and lawyers as “fit for Hannibal Lecter”, the jail’s Christmas menu featured baked Cornish hen or vegetarian alternative, accompanied by vegetables. Steamed rice, macaroni cheese, black beans, collard greens and “assorted pies” were also on the menu.
If the one-time connoisseur of fine wines and expensive cocktails finds herself still there on New Year’s Day, she will be able to choose from roast beef or roast tofu, with mashed potatoes, gravy and macaroni cheese.
Her criminal trial, meanwhile, will resume tomorrow with the jury of six men and six women still locked in deliberations, having made several requests to the judge to review evidence prior to their Christmas break.
If they convict Ms Maxwell, she could face up to 70 years behind bars.