Prince Andrew BBC interview – what happened on the Newsnight special

PRINCE Andrew took part in a bombshell interview with Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis on November 16 in which he complained that the Jeffrey Epstein saga had become a “constant sore” for himself and his family.

The prince, who has now been stripped of all royal duties, said he had “no recollection” of ever meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the woman who claims she was made to have sex with him as a teen. Here’s what happened in the BBC interview.

The Duke of York, speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis
The Duke of York, speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis

What happened in the interview?

During the interview Prince Andrew denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.

He said one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

What did Andrew claim about his sweating problem?

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American Virginia Giuffre said began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong, the Duke said.

This is because, he claimed, he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.

Virginia Roberts, pictured with Prince Andrew, has branded his denials 'appalling'
Rex Features

Virginia Roberts, pictured with Prince Andrew, has branded his denials ‘appalling’[/caption]

What did he say about friendship with Epstein?

He twice stated his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein had provided “seriously beneficial outcomes”, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show Andrew with his arm around the waist of Mrs Giuffre, when a teenager.

The royal said: “From the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph. 

“So it’s very difficult to be able to prove it but I don’t remember that photograph ever being taken.”

He expressed regret at making contact with Epstein in 2010 – flying to New York to say in person the friendship was over – after the 66-year-old had been released from an 18-month prison term for prostituting minors.

But Maitlis highlighted how he spent a number of days with him at his home, and how he was guest of honour at a dinner party she said celebrated Epstein’s release.

What is the reaction to the Newsnight special?

Not good at all.

The interview has been widely criticised with commentators questioning his responses and condemning his unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse for the friendship with the sex offender.

It has been condemned,even by royalists. 

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme that in the wake of the interview, Andrew could find himself out of the core Royal Family, if reports are correct that the monarchy will be slimmed down when the Prince of Wales becomes king.

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski said about the interview: “I have never seen anything so disastrous. For any students of PR that is how not to do it.

“It was like watching a man in quicksand and unfortunately, I don’t think anyone would have thrown him a line to get him out.”

What has Andrew said about the interview?

The BBC has reported sources close to the Duke as saying he stands by his decision to set the record straight about his relationship with the disgraced financier – and counter allegations he slept with one of Epstein’s groomed teenagers.

Conflicting reports in the newspapers, also based on sources, claim Andrew told the Queen his television appearance on BBC’s Newsnight programme was a success, while another says he expressed to friends regret at not mentioning sympathy for the women trafficked for sex by Epstein.

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