Over the weekend, Prince Andrew spoke with journalist Emily Maitlis about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a broadcast interview on Newsnight. If you’re unsure what we’re talking about, it’s time to get you updated. Click here.
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In the nearly 50-minute interview, the Duke of York revealed that while he does not regret the friendship, he does feel he “let the side down” – the royal family that is.
Post-interview, Maitlis is sharing a behind-the-scenes insight into how the interview came together, including how she prepared her questions and how Andrew sought final permission and approval of the segment from his mother, the Queen.
“We have finished laying out our pitch. An awkward moment of silence falls. And the Duke tells us he must ‘seek approval from higher up’,” Maitlis shares in an article in The Times.
“It dawns on us then that he means the Queen herself. At 8am the next day we have a message telling us to call his office. The Queen, it seems, is on board.”
Newsnight first approached Prince Andrew’s team 10 months ago to do a piece on the duke’s work and role within the royal family. However, the programme declined to move forward with the piece when questions about Epstein were taken off the table.
After Epstein was arrested for a second time on multiple charges of sex trafficking, (later dying by suicide in jail), the headlines about Prince Andrew and his friendship and involvement with the sex offender continued.
"The Palace knew they had a problem. They had sent out statements vigorously denying the claims. But those perhaps lacked the conviction of a human voice behind them. And so we go to meet his team. They feel that a Newsnight interview is the only way to clear the air. To put across his side of the story," Maitlis writes.
Despite receiving the Queen’s approval, the interview has since been widely condemned as a “PR disaster”. The public is now calling for the Duke of York to show sympathy for the victims of the convicted billionaire sex offender he once knew.