Emily Maitlis has suggested that Princess Beatrice’s planned wedding next year could have played a hand in the BBC’s interview with Prince Andrew. Maitlis also discussed how her extraordinary interview with Prince Andrew took around a year to set up. The interview – dubbed Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal – will air on BBC Newsnight later tonight, marking the first time Prince Andrew speaks publicly about his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In the interview, Prince Andrew, who strongly denies claims that he had sex with Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts), has said he regrets staying with Epstein but believed it was the “honourable” thing to do at the time.
Prince Andrew described it as a “convenient place to stay”.
He told Emily Maitlis: “I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times but at the end of the day with the benefit of all the hindsight that one can have it was definitely the wrong thing to do but at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do.
“I admit fully my judgment was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.”
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Prince Andrew added that he had “no recollection” of ever meeting Virginia Giuffre, the woman who claims to have been coerced into having sex with the royal by Epstein.
Speaking about the interview on BBC News this morning, Maitlis said the BBC’s talks with the Palace had intensified following Epstein’s death in a New York prison in August.
She discussed her shock at how “raw and visceral” Prince Andrew was during the interview
Maitlis also revealed that the Queen personally signed off on the Prince Andrew interview with the BBC earlier this week.
She explained: “He explained that there will never be a perfect time to talk about such deeply uncomfortable issues. He chose to do it on Thursday with us.
“I can’t speculate as to what was in his head or what has gone on in his life.
“There are things coming up, like his daughter’s wedding next year and my understanding was that this this was a once in a lifetime event.
“Nothing was off-record, no preconditions on any of the questions we asked.
“There are moments where it was quite raw, quite visceral, and it will be quite uncomfortable for the viewer.
“This is a man at the heart of the Royal Family who never does this.”
Buckingham Palace said previously: “Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
It added: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Mrs Giuffre’s allegations about the duke were struck from the US court record in 2015 after a judge branded them “immaterial and impertinent”.
A US Federal Appeals Court has warned that allegations in court papers should not be understood as firm findings or as “some sort of marker of reliability” because New York law grants absolute immunity from liability for defamation.