Heritage

Prince Andrew’s Interview About Jeffrey Epstein Was a Disaster

Some members of the public are calling for him to retire from public duties.
IMAGE COURTESY OF BBC
Comments

When BBC’s Newsnight released the promotional material for its interview with Prince Andrew, in which the Queen's second son would officially discuss his friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein, there were two key moments.

One was Andrew saying that he has “no recollection of ever meeting” Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre), who claims that she had sex with the Prince three times, including once in London in 2001 when she was 17 and being trafficked by Epstein. It’s an accusation that the Prince has vigorously denied in the past.

The second moment was Andrew saying that he “let the side down”—the side, in this case, being the royal family—by staying with Epstein in New York in 2010, after the disgraced financier was released from prison in Florida following his conviction for sex offenses. Of this, Andrew said, “I kick myself.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis interviewing Prince Andrew in Buckingham Palace.
Photo by COURTESY OF BBC.

Two days after the 50-minute interview, which took place in Buckingham Palace, aired in full on Saturday night, it has been widely suggested that Andrew now has another reason to kick himself. Far from putting an end to the questions being asked about his friendship with Epstein, who was arrested this summer on charges of sex trafficking and died by suicide in jail, this interview has only served to fan the flames.

Widely dubbed a “car crash,” Andrew’s testimony is now facing much scrutiny and much criticism.

Firstly, there is the significant matter of what he did not say. The Prince neglected to explicitly express sympathy for Epstein’s victims or directly denounce Epstein’s behavior. He has done so previously in statements, and his friends have done so on his behalf since, but the interview was his moment to say it in person, and the words somehow eluded him.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Catherine Mayer, Prince Charles’s biographer and founder of the Women’s Equality Party, told Channel 4 that his interview “entirely erased the victims.” She added: “Even at the end where he was given this chance ‘is there anything more you’d like to say?’ he couldn’t even think of talking about them.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Photo by COURTESY OF BBC.

Another widely-condemned moment came at the end of the discussion when the Prince described Epstein as having conducted himself in “a manner unbecoming” to which presenter Emily Maitlis responded: “Unbecoming? He was a sex offender.”

There was also the point, when asked whether he regretted his friendship with Epstein, that Andrew replied “Now, still not,” citing “useful” opportunities that came from their acquaintance.

But most damaging was the cumulative drip of watching Andrew answer question after question that built up a clear picture of his relationship with Epstein but somehow failed to convincingly shut down any of the criticisms that have been leveled against him.

The reason Andrew gave for staying with Epstein in 2010 when the financier was released from prison? The Prince said that he wanted to break off the friendship (having, he says, not had any contact with Epstein since 2006). But he was at a loss to give a truly satisfactory explanation of why he felt he had to stay with him to do this. At one point the Prince offered the suggestion that it was a “convenient” place to stay. At another time he said: “I admit fully that my judgment was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

When it came to Virginia Roberts, Andrew gave a categorical denial to her claims that he had sex with her. He repeatedly said he has “no recollection” of meeting her, and outlined a detailed list of reasons why her claims could not be correct. Many of these have now been extensively scrutinized and, in some cases, mocked.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The queen and Prince Andrew on their way to church together this summer.
Photo by DUNCAN MCGLYNN / GETTY IMAGES.

On the date Roberts says she met him in London in 2001, Andrew said he was at home with his children following a visit to Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, throwing the world’s spotlight onto an unsuspecting pizza restaurant in southeast England. Of Roberts's claim that he had bought her drinks in Tramp nightclub, the Prince said he doesn't even know where the bar at Tramp is. And of Roberts's description of Andrew as sweating when they met, Andrew said that he had a medical condition which meant he couldn't sweat, having suffered an overdose of adrenaline while serving in the Falklands war.

He questioned the authenticity of a now-famous picture of him with his arm around Roberts (“you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not”), adding that he is not one to hug.

None of these answers, however, seemed to have the outcome that he had hoped for, an end to questions about his behavior. The interview has been roundly condemned by experts and high-profile figures, and perhaps more damagingly, by the wider public. You only have to spend a few minutes on social media to find thousands of people sharing their scathing views of his appearance. One poll by the U.K. TV show This Morning found that 81% of viewers thought he should retire from the royal front line.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Pretty much the only person who appears to have attempted a public defense of Andrew is Lady Colin Campbell, who appeared on Good Morning Britain. After claiming that soliciting that a minor for prostitution (the crime for which Epstein was convicted of in 2008, in a controversial plea deal) did not amount to pedophilia, the 70-year-old author followed with the following statement about Andrew: “You can’t criticize someone because they aren’t as bright as you would like them to be.”

By some accounts, Andrew initially felt the interview went well. Newsnight's deputy editor Stewart Maclean told BBC News that they were upfront about offering a "firm but fair" interview with nothing off-limits, adding: “We got the sense in the aftermath that the palace was satisfied.” Maclean also said about the prince: “We were surprised in a way at how prepared he was to tackle some of the stuff that he responded to.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The BBC has reported that the prince stands by his decision to take part in it. Two days later, though, the controversy swirling around him shows little sign of disappearing.

Prince Andrew began his interview by saying: “There is no good time to talk about Mr. Epstein and all things associated.” With the benefit of hindsight, it seems he would have served himself better to stop there.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

Comments
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Victoria Murphy
View Other Articles From Victoria Murphy
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
For starters, good quality and design are aspects they will appreciate.
 
Share
The first-ever Filipino Netflix movie imparts nuggets of wisdom to the social media-crazed generation.
 
Share
 
Share
Because the holiday season isn't complete without a movie marathon.
 
Share
Looking to grow your own vintage watch collection? Start with these classic picks.
 
Share
 
Share
Her portrayal of a masked mercenary in this month’s Rise of Skywalker is one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. Keri Russell prepares for the big reveal at a brownstone in Brooklyn, a galaxy far, far away.
 
Share
Take a ride on a train through Asia or take a trip to a champagne chalet, the options are endless.
 
Share
Alcohol-free traveling is an emerging trend, but there’s much more to this phenomenon than meets the eye.
 
Share
It comes complete with jewels, corgis, banquets, and etiquette lessons.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US