Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts must be ‘put on the grill’ by Panorama when show interviews her, friends of the Duchess of York insist
- Friends of Duchess of York want BBC to subject Virginia Roberts to a TV grilling
- Ms Roberts has accused the Duke of York of having sex with her when she was 17
- Prince Andrew attempted to repair his reputation in a BBC Newsnight interview
- The move backfired and he was roundly criticised and mocked over the debacle
Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, pictured at Royal Ascot this year
Prince Andrew’s accuser Virginia Roberts must be ‘put on the grill’ by BBC’s Panorama when the show interviews her, friends of the Duchess of York have insisted.
Ms Roberts, an alleged trafficking victim of paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, claims she had under-age sex with the duke three times when she was 17, which he strenuously denies.
In a misguided attempt to repair his reputation and clarify his relationship with Epstein he was interviewed by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis on Newsnight.
It went so badly the Queen was forced to step in and effectively fire him from public duties and stepped back from all of his 230 patronages.
Now Buckingham Palace is bracing itself for yet further scrutiny as Ms Roberts is being interviewed on BBC Panorama this week. It will be broadcast on Monday next week.
But friends of the Duchess of York told The Telegraph: ‘She [Virginia Roberts] should be properly cross examined and on all the evidence that doesn’t stack up.
‘She should be put on the rack. The BBC cannot drill him as they did, and just believe her, when there are lots of inconsistencies.’
Virginia Roberts, appearing in an NBC interview, is set to to appear on BBC Panorama on Monday next week
In particular the friend of the duchess said the BBC should ask Virginia Roberts – now Mrs Giuffre – how much she had been paid for the photograph showing the Duke with his arm around her at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell.
The intervention may not prove welcome due to the demand to put Ms Roberts – an alleged victim of a paedophile and sex offender – under an intense media grilling.
The Duke of York’s former wife Sarah Ferguson and daughter Princess Beatrice were among the key figures pressing him to go ahead with last weekend’s car crash interview, it has been claimed.
The Duchess of York had been keen to end the speculation about Andrew’s involvement with convicted paedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein ahead of Beatrice’s wedding to property developer Edo Mapelli Mozzi next year.
Virginia Roberts (pictured with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell) says the prince had sex with her three times
Fergie is also believed to have been convinced that if the public could see the Duke – or ‘my boy’, as she is said to call him – talking in his own words about the scandal, they would be convinced that he was telling the truth.
Andrew’s performance and its aftermath seem to have hit the Princess hard and she was tearful while hosting a party for her fiance’s 36th birthday at the exclusive Mayfair nightclub Annabel’s on Tuesday night.
One member of the Princess’s circle said that what should have been a celebration was a solemn and awkward affair. Prince Andrew stepped down from Royal duties the following day.
‘Beatrice was sombre and make-up-free for the birthday dinner,’ the source said.
‘She was probably worried that her mascara would run. She seemed quite tearful at times. In fact, Beatrice has been in tears every day since the interview went out.’
In a misguided attempt to repair his reputation and clarify his relationship with Epstein he was interviewed by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis on Newsnight
Princess Beatrice is due to marry her partner Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi next year but royal biographer Christopher Warwick said the scandal would probably mean her wedding will be a much smaller affair than that afforded to her sister.
Mr Warwick said: ‘I think – fairly or unfairly – it has cast a shadow over the York family but more broadly his stepping back from official duties has kind of lifted that shadow that was about to be cast over the whole royal family.’
During the BBC interview, Andrew denied claims he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts, but admitted he had ‘let the side down’ when he visited Epstein’s home in New York – two years after the billionaire financier’s conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution.
The duke was also attacked for what was seen by many as a lack of remorse over the friendship with the disgraced financier, who took his own life in prison earlier this year while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.