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Emily Maitlis: Prince Andrew's settlement 'contradicts' 'Newsnight' interview

Emily Maitlis has given her response to Prince Andrew's settlement. (Getty)
Emily Maitlis has given her response to Prince Andrew's settlement. (Getty)

Prince Andrew's settlement with Virginia Giuffre "contradicts" the answers he gave in his now infamous Newsnight interview, Emily Maitlis has said.

It was announced earlier this week that the Duke of York and his accuser reached an out of court settlement in the civil sexual abuse trial, which had been scheduled for later this year.

While the exact number has not been made public, it has been reported to be as high as £12m – with the Queen said to be partially footing the bill.

Tuesday's settlement is not an admission of guilt, Andrew has always denied the allegations.

It followed more than two years of intense scrutiny, in which Andrew withdrew from public life, lost his military titles and relinquished his use of the HRH status.

Read more: Prince Andrew settles sexual abuse lawsuit with Virginia Giuffre

FEBRUARY 15th 2022: Prince Andrew The Duke of York reaches agreement to settle sexual abuse lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre. - JANUARY 12th 2022: The sexual assault lawsuit filed against Prince Andrew The Duke of York by lawyers for Virginia Giuffre will proceed after the judge denied a motion to dismiss the case. - SEPTEMBER 21st 2021: Prince Andrew The Duke of York has been served with a sexual assault lawsuit in a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, New York, USA by lawyers for Virginia Giuffre who claims she was forced to have sex with him at the London, England, UK home of a friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. - JUNE 8th 2020: The United States Department of Justice demands that Great Britain hand over Prince Andrew to be formally questioned in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. - NOVEMBER 21st 2019: Prince Andrew The Duke of York steps down from all official royal public duties amid the escalation of his associations in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx 2015 5/10/15 Prince Andrew The Duke of York attends the National Service of Thanksgiving held on May 10, 2015 at Westminster Abbey in London, England, UK.
The Duke of York earlier this week announced he and his accuser had reached and out of court settlement in the civil sexual abuse trial. (AP)

One of the most memorable moments from the scandal remains his interview with BBC Newsnight, in which Emily Maitlis delivered a forensic interrogation addressing allegations he sexually abused Giuffre when she was 17, after convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her to England.

Prince Andrew's main defence was that he 'never met her', they never danced in a nightclub together - and in fact that night he was in a Pizza Express in Woking - and more importantly they never went back to Ghislaine Maxwell's London flat together.

Writing for the BBC, Maitlis said there are still unanswered questions remaining following the settlement.

"At the heart of the settlement is the biggest question of all: why is a prince who told me he had 'no recollection of ever meeting this lady' now paying her what we understand to be upwards of £10m?," she asked.

"There are only three possible explanations then for the settlement: either he was lying in that response - and remembered her well; or he genuinely had no recollection - and was adamant they hadn't met - only for his memory subsequently to be jogged; or that he maintains his innocence, but feels the weight of legal and public opinion against him now make settling the easier option, albeit without accepting any liability.'"

Prince Andrew pictured in an infamous picture with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts with Ghislaine Maxwell in the background
Prince Andrew pictured in an infamous picture with a then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts with Ghislaine Maxwell in the background.

A carefully worded court statement said Andrew "intends to make a substantial donation to Ms Giuffre's charity in support of victim's rights".

It also praised Giuffre's "bravery" and added Andrew never meant to "malign" her character, and said "he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks."

In response Maitlis wrote: "See how careful it is to put distance between an acknowledgement of Giuffre's pain - and any responsibility he may or may not have had for it."

In the court papers, Andrew crucially said he "regrets his association with Epstein" - a stark difference to his Newsnight interview in which he said their relationship was "very useful".

But this, Maitlis says, is leaves yet another unanswered question in the air - "Does he only regret that it has become a source of such immense subsequent damage?"