Looking back at Prince Andrew’s disastrous Newsnight interview

By Luke Powell, PA
·2-min read

Almost one year on since his disastrous Newsnight interview and Prince Andrew is still yet to return to public royal duties.

The Duke of York stepped back from his public role just days after he was quizzed by presenter Emily Maitlis about his relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

During the televised interview on November 16 last year, the duke failed to show remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier and expressed little empathy for his alleged victims.

Jeffrey Epstein death
The Duke of York, speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis (Mark Harrison/BBC)

The 60-year-old also denied ever meeting Virginia Giuffre, who claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and allegedly had sex with the duke on three occasions, including when she was 17 – still a minor under US law.

The duke said one encounter with Ms Giuffre in 2001 could not have happened as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

Andrew has always categorically denied he had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Ms Giuffre.

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowsky branded the BBC interview “disastrous” for Andrew, and the fallout was almost immediate.

In the following days, firms including telecoms giant BT and bank Barclays were among a growing number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities which distanced themselves from him.

Then, on November 20, the duke announced he was to step back from public duties for the “foreseeable future” – an unprecedented move for a royal in modern times.

He said in a statement at the time: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.”

The duke – who is the Queen’s second son – added he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required”.

But he then faced further criticism over the following months after US prosecutors accused him of being uncooperative with the Epstein sex trafficking inquiry.

Andrew has been locked in a long-running battle with law enforcement in the US over his availability to answer questions about Epstein, who died in jail last year while facing sex trafficking charges.

Geoffrey Berman, a US prosecutor who was leading the investigation into Epstein until June 2020, accused the duke of attempting to “falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to co-operate”.

But the duke’s legal team claimed he had made three separate offers this year to give a witness statement, while a royal source described Mr Berman’s actions as “frankly bewildering”.