The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, sat down with Emily Maitlis for BBC’s Newsnight in a 49 minute interview that went to air on Saturday evening in the UK in which he was asked about his links with Jeffrey Epstein and allegations he had sex with a then teen-aged Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Train wreck doesn’t cover it.
I expected a train wreck.
— Charlie Proctor (@MonarchyUK) November 16, 2019
“That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion-level bad,” is how, Charlie Proctor who edits the Royal Central website, put it.
This is one of the most astonishing interviews I’ve ever watched. Brilliant forensic dissection by @maitlis – desperate, toe-curling bullsh*t from Prince Andrew. Why on earth did he do this? Insane. pic.twitter.com/cF0UBBAlvG
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 16, 2019
It’s hardly surprising to discover that one of Prince Andrew’s top advisors left after the Duke of York reportedly decided to do the interview against advice. Any fears the advisor harboured about what may eventuate appear to be well-founded.
The interview has been unanimously slated – globally – as a total, unmitigated disaster. Prince Andrew’s abject lack of empathy for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes was callous and his clumsy attempts to justify his friendship with Epstein only compounded it.
One of the biggest royal public relations blunders ever. https://t.co/H1pH6xIcop
— julie k. brown (@jkbjournalist) November 17, 2019
Royals very rarely do sit-down, no holds barred, tell-all interviews and this was compelling proof why that’s the case.
“Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes,” he said referring to Epstein, who took his own life in his prison cell in August while facing charges of abusing dozens of underage girls.
“Unbecoming?” Maitlis asked, incredulously, in response.
Of all the words to describe a convicted sex offender ‘unbecoming’ is perhaps the most offensive in how extraordinarily inadequate it is in capturing the gravity of the crime.
Of the now-famous photograph in which Prince Andrew’s arm is around a young Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s waist he had “no recollection of that photograph ever being taken”.
Apparently in a bid to convince the audience it couldn’t possibly be real (yet it’s a photograph?) he suggested it looked like it had been taken upstairs in a house, an area he didn’t believe he “ever went”.
As a member of the royal family Prince Andrew also said he was “not one to, as it were, hug, and public displays of affection are not something that I do”.
Yet images that have been steadily shared on social media since those remarks certainly cast doubt on this: there are countless images of the prince in various states of public and physical displays of affection with members of the public.
Further to his categorical denial of ever having met Roberts Giuffre, he said on the night in question he was at a pizza restaurant with one of his daughters. Several viewers noted that the prince apparently had more disdain for the fact he was in a Pizza Express restaurant than he did for Epstein’s criminal conduct.
Prince Andrew said that Giuffre’s claims that he had sweated heavily during their alleged time together couldn’t be true because ‘at that time’ he had a “peculiar medical condition” that meant he didn’t sweat.
“If you’re a man it is a positive act to have sex with somebody,” the prince explained. “You have to … take some sort of positive action and so therefore if you try to forget it’s very difficult to try and forget a positive action and I do not remember anything.”
‘My judgement was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable’: Britain’s Prince Andrew says he does not recall meeting sexual assault accuser while staying at the home of Jeffrey Epstein https://t.co/H8vKzC4jdT pic.twitter.com/VABGwiHP9Q
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 16, 2019
SNP politician Hannah Bardell described the interview as “sickening”.
“Prince Andrew literally has no remorse or regard for the women abused and clearly does not see the problem with being pals with Epstein … the systematic abuse of power is unbelievable.”
His attempts to explain why he continued to see Epstein after his conviction and first stint in jail were both galling and inconsistent.
He was ‘too honourable’ apparently to hold his friend to account. How very curious that none of the ‘honour’ was extended to Epstein’s underage victims? Not even almost two decades later.
If there is another television interview in the history of civilisation that depicts so brutally the systemic abuse of power, help us all.