The Good Morning Britain presenter (pictured) questioned why the Duke of York agreed to the sit down
Piers Morgan has branded Prince Andrew’s car crash TV interview last night as ‘desperate toe-curdling bulls***’ after the Royal was grilled for an hour on his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
The Good Morning Britain presenter, 54, heaped praise on Newsnight interrogator Emily Maitlis’s ‘brilliant forensic dissection’, but questioned why the Duke of York agreed to the sit down.
He tweeted: ‘This is one of the most astonishing interviews I’ve ever watched. Brilliant forensic dissection by @maitlis – desperate, toe-curling bulls*** from Prince Andrew. Why on earth did he do this? Insane.’
The ‘no holds barred’ interview saw the Prince asked about his relationship with Epstein – and he again denied ever having sex with the financier’s ‘sex slave’ Virginia Roberts.
The Duke, 59, faced a flurry of questions about his links to the paedophile, who was found dead aged 66 earlier this year in a New York prison cell while being held on sex trafficking charges.
Morgan tweeted: ‘This is one of the most astonishing interviews I’ve ever watched. Brilliant forensic dissection by @maitlis – desperate, toe-curling bulls*** from Prince Andrew. Why on earth did he do this? Insane’
Speaking during the interview, he said the appeal of Epstein was that ‘he had the most extraordinary ability to bring extraordinary people together’
Andrew maintained he does not recall meeting Miss Roberts and did not spend time with her at Tramp Nightclub in London on March 10, 2001, after which she claims the pair first had sex.
He denied he slept with her on three separate occasions, saying the encounter in 2001 did not happen because he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they spent the rest of the day together.
But social media users were sceptical following the 9pm show on Saturday.
Carol Vorderman tweeted: ‘#PrinceAndrew So I didn’t speak to him for 4 years because it wasn’t appropriate, but when he was released from prison for sex offences I didn’t ring him..no.., I flew to America to tell him in person that I STILL wasn’t going to talk to him…RUN THAT BY ME AGAIN.’
Rose McGowan, an actress and #MeToo movement figurehead, posted: ‘Can Prince Andrew not remember Virginia Roberts, his accuser, because there were so many young girls? Am I hearing this right?’
Craig Meighan wrote: ‘The Prince Andrew excuse: ”I couldn’t have done the sweaty molesting because I wasn’t sweating that year” is absolutely astonishingly bad for an adult human.’
BBC presenter Jeremy Vine said he was ‘struggling with the Woking angle?’
Many social media users (pictured, their tweets) were sceptical following the 9pm show on Saturday
Women’s Equality Party founder Catherine Mayer asked online if the Prince was ‘too stupid to even pretend concern for Epstein’s victims’.
Even some of those in favour of the royal family, such as Royal Central website editor Charlie Proctor, were not impressed.
‘I expected a train wreck. That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad,’ Mr Proctor tweeted.
Comedian Dom Joly also tweeted with a crashing theme, describing the interview as ‘a worse car crash than getting a lift home from Prince Philip’.
Former diplomat Craig Murray, who was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004, was slightly less than diplomatic in his response to the royal’s interview, saying he suspected the only grain of truth it contained was the comment that Andrew never pays for drinks.
Others on Twitter also weighed in, with one user writing: ‘How about ”I’m sorry” for associating with Epstein in the first place?
”I’m sorry for having an ongoing friendship with him knowing he is a convicted sex offender and now proven human trafficker?”
‘How about EMPATHY for the victims? No remorse, compassion or reaction.’
Another put: ‘#PrinceAndrew I am staggered that not once did he say he had empathy for Epstein’s victims! Who advised him!!?’
A man wrote: ‘As much as we’re laughing at the Prince Andrew interview for the car crash it was, he should be answering these questions in court under oath!’
Another added: ‘Who advised Prince Andrew to do this interview? Surely he’s just better to give a statement under oath and be done with it. Until then it will never go away..’
One man agreed, writing: ‘The court of public opinion is a noisy and disparate place, where Prince Andrew can and will be forgotten in less than a week.
‘A grilling by @maitlis should be the start, not the end. If HRH really has broken the law, he should be brought to real justice.’
A photograph apparently showing Andrew with his arm around then 17-year-old Roberts, now Giuffre, in 2001 and with Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell standing in the background, has been widely published. Supporters of Andrew, however, have disputed its authenticity.
The infamous photograph of Prince Andrew smiling as he stands with his left arm around the waist of a young Virginia Roberts has dogged him for years. It is alleged to have been taken in early 2001
Andrew (right) also again rejects the claim by one of Epstein’s (left) victims, Virginia Roberts, that he had sex with her when she was 17
Virginia Roberts (pictured in September) alleges she was coerced by paedophile US businessman Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the Duke, into having sex with Andrew on three occasions
The Duke of York said: ‘I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
‘And then because the Duchess was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there.
‘I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so therefore I was at home.’
Questioned why he remembers the evening so distinctly, Andrew said: ‘Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.
‘I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly.’
Andrew insisted he was ‘at home with the children’ on the night Miss Roberts alleged she was nightclubbing and later having sex with him. Exploring this alibi, Maitliss pressed further and Andrew volunteered that he could remember taking his daughter Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, (pictured) at between 4pm and 5pm that afternoon
Some on social media took a more jokey stance on the interview.
TV presenter Giles Coren wrote: ‘Ask him what he ordered [from Woking Pizza Express].
‘If he says ‘a sloppy Giuseppe’ you’ve got him. Because they didn’t introduce that till 2006.’
Comedy writer Simon Blackwell, on the other hand, seemed convinced, saying – perhaps with his tongue in his cheek – that the Prince had ‘drawn a line under the whole thing’. Given that Blackwell is best known for his work on The Thick Of It, he should know what spin lines do or don’t work.
Comedian David Baddiel used some expressive language in his response to Andrew’s interview, but also questioned his grammar when saying: ‘That is what I would describe as me in that photo.’
Some Twitter users took a more jokey stance on the car crash interview aired on Saturday
But Andrew was not without his defenders.
Former wife Sarah Ferguson said before the show went to air: ‘It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs.
‘Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness.’
Sarah Ferguson tweeted out a series of pictures of the duke, defending him ahead of the bombshell interview
The Duchess of York was visiting Venice yesterday after it was submerged by floods as storms and winds brought misery to the city
Tweet of the night, though, might go to the Pizza Express account, about the chain suddenly going viral and being bombarded by messages to ‘check Twitter now’.
Prince Andrew’s revelation of having eaten at the pizza restaurant on a fateful night 18 years ago led to a spate of new online reviews for the eatery.
One reviewer wrote: ‘Love this place. I had a cracking pizza here in 2001. I remember it was 2001 because it was very strange the guy next to me had an American Hot pizza with extra chillies… not a drop of sweat came off him. Very odd.’
The sweating reference was a nod to Prince Andrew saying in his BBC interview that a claim he was perspiring heavily at a London nightclub was wrong as he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
Andrew said: ‘There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time.
‘I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and it was almost impossible for me to sweat.
‘And it’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again. So I’m afraid to say that there’s a medical condition that says that I didn’t do it.’
He added: ‘I’ve no recollection of ever meeting her, I’m almost, in fact I’m convinced that I was never in Tramps with her.
‘There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramps.
‘I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there.’