Prince Andrew’s team ‘was happy’ with his car-crash Emily Maitlis interview over his relationship with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and was shocked by public’s reaction, Newsnight presenter reveals
- ‘Forensic’ BBC Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew aired last November
- It’s now been nominated for BAFTA – host Emily Maitlis says Palace were ‘happy’
- Andrew said he never met Virginia Roberts, despite a photo of them together
- He also showed no regret for friendship with Epstein or sympathy for his victims
Prince Andrew and his team were ‘happy’ after the disastrous Newsnight interview that led to his mother the Queen effectively sacking him from royal duties less than a week later, it was revealed today.
BBC presenter Emily Maitlis, who interviewed the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace, has revealed that it was only after the public reacted with fury and incredulity to his performance that his aides began to worry.
Ms Maitlis spoke to the Radio Times after the interview was nominated in the news category and said: ‘We know that the Palace was happy with the interview. We had plenty of engagement with them after it went out. I think their shock was not at the interview itself, but the reaction it caused in the days and weeks afterwards’.
Andrew, whose daughter Beatrice married secretly last Friday, claimed he could not have had sex with Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex slave Virginia Roberts in 2001 because he was out with his daughter at Pizza Express in Woking.
Emily Maitlis interviews Prince Andrew last November in a bombshell Newsnight that would end the Duke of York’s royal career
Ms Maitlis has said that Palace officials were ‘happy’ about the interview where Andrew denied regretting being friends with Epstein, a paedophile
Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts, aged 17 at Ghislaine Maxwell’s townhouse in London and the Duke of York is in a war of words with the US authorities and the royal insists he is willing to speak to them about Jeffrey Epstein. He said in the BBC interview that this photo may have been fake
He also said a medical condition after being shot at during the Falklands War left him unable to sweat because Miss Roberts, who was 17 at the time, claimed that they danced together and he had been ‘sweating profusely’.
The prince also said he doesn’t even remember meeting her, despite the existence of a photograph showing him with his arm around the teenager’s bare waist alongside Epstein’s girlfriend and alleged ‘madame’ Ghislaine Maxwell, a friend of his. He suggested the picture could have been faked.
Controversially he said he did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of ‘the opportunities I was given to learn’ from him about trade and business – and showed no sympathy for his victims.
He also revealed he believed he been acting ‘honourably’ in flying to New York to tell Epstein personally that he could no longer have anything to do with him, although admitted that ‘in hindsight’ this had been a mistake.
Ms Maitlis has said she only realised the significance of her interview with the Duke of York after watching the footage.
The Andrew interview, in which he was grilled over his relationship with billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, won scoop of the year at the Royal Television Society Awards while the BBC’s flagship current affairs show was also named daily news programme of the year.
Prince Andrew (pictured during his BBC Newsnight interview last year) is under increasing pressure to give evidence to the FBI about Jeffrey Epstei
Maxwell, left, was last seen at an In-N-Out Burger in August. She is now in custody in Brooklyn. Epstein killed himself in jail last August. Some believe he was murdered
Maitlis told Radio Times magazine the ‘penny dropped’ about the importance of the interview in the editing suite with her programme’s editor, Esme Wren.
She said: ‘We’d assumed that he’d want to show empathy to the victims or pin the blame on Jeffrey Epstein. We couldn’t understand why he hadn’t done that. We definitely thought he’d be spikier…’
The interview had been a year in the planning and Maitlis said they could have opted for a shorter interview but held out for something more comprehensive.
She said within a few minutes of the interview beginning, she knew they had something ‘explosive’, adding: ‘First, he was tackling the subject matter head on.
‘Secondly, the lack of apology or any real expression of regret told me that the prince still believed that his actions had broadly been the right ones.
‘And thirdly, the level of detail was unlike anything I was expecting.’
Maitlis’s interview with Andrew has earned Newsnight a nomination in the news coverage category at this year’s Bafta Television Awards.
The fallout from the interview saw the duke withdraw from public duties after he was widely criticised for failing to show remorse for his friendship with Epstein, and little empathy with the sex offender’s alleged victims.
He has also been urged to come forward and be interviewed about his friendship with Epstein, calls that were renewed after his friend Ghislaine Maxwell appeared in court accused of facilitating Epstein’s sexual exploitation of underage girls.
The duke’s legal team has stressed he has made three offers to help US prosecutors.