‘I was at Pizza Express in Woking’: What Prince Andrew said about Virginia Giuffre in his 'Newsnight' interview

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·5-min read
Prince Andrew during the Newsnight interview broadcast on 16 November, 2019. (BBC)
Prince Andrew during the Newsnight interview broadcast on 16 November, 2019. (BBC)

It was a genuinely extraordinary TV moment.

So extraordinary that Prince Andrew’s infamous BBC Newsnight interview from 2019 has been referenced in a civil lawsuit against him by Virginia Giuffre.

The lawsuit alleges that Giuffre, then known as Virginia Roberts, was sexually abused by the Duke while aged under 18 at Ghislaine Maxwell’s home in London, at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York mansion and at other locations including Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.

In the lawsuit, she claims that a picture of herself with Andrew and Maxwell at Maxwell’s home was taken prior to the prince sexually abusing her.

Though a spokesperson for Andrew today said he had no further comment on the matter, the prince did speak at length about his recollection of events in the BBC interview in which he denied ever meeting Giuffre and said he had no recollection of the photo ever being taken.

So, as legal action that threatens to further harm is reputation is launched, here is a reminder of his key statements made on Newsnight in relation to Giuffre.

'I have absolutely no memory of that photograph'

The duke said he couldn't remember posing for the picture which shows him with his arm around Giuffre's waist, with Maxwell standing to their left. The lawsuit on Monday said it was taken at Maxwell’s home “prior to Prince Andrew sexually abusing" Giuffre.

Asked to explain the photo, he said: "I can't because I don't… I have no… again, I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken."

Of the claim the picture was taken by Epstein, Prince Andrew said: "Well, here's the problem, I've never seen Epstein with a camera in my life."

‘I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady’

When interviewer Emily Maitlis listed Giuffre’s claims that she met Prince Andrew in 2001, dined with him, danced with him at Tramp nightclub in Mayfair and had sex with him at the home of Maxwell, he said: “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

Watch: Virginia Giuffre brings legal action against Duke of York over alleged abuse

Maitlis repeated the claims. Prince Andrew said: “It didn’t happen.”

The alleged meeting in the nightclub is not mentioned in the lawsuit.

‘I was at Pizza Express in Woking’

Arguably the most memorable claim Prince Andrew made was that the nightclub encounter couldn't have happened because he remembered spending the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, including taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

He said: "On that particular day that we now understand is the date which is 10 March [2001], I was at home, I was with the children and I'd taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm."

WOKING, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: A general view of Pizza Express restaurant on November 18, 2019 in Woking, England. Prince Andrew claimed in a BBC interview that he attended the Woking branch of Pizza Express with his daughter Beatrice on the night Virginia Roberts has alleged he was with her. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Pizza Express in Woking, which Prince Andrew claimed that he visited on the night Virginia Giuffre alleges he was with her. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Asked why he recalled that so specifically, the duke said "because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do".

'I don't sweat'

Maitlis repeated a claim from Giuffre that Prince Andrew was "profusely sweating" as he danced with her that night.

Here is what the duke said to that in full: "There's a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition, which is that I don't sweat or I didn't sweat at the time and that was… was it… yes, I didn't sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falklands War [he was a Sea King helicopter pilot in the conflict] when I was shot at and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.

Prince Andrew (later the Duke of York) in the Falklands with a camera.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince Andrew pictured in the Falklands. (PA)

"And it's only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again. So I'm afraid to say that there's a medical condition that says that I didn't do it, so therefore…"

What does the lawsuit say about the Newsnight interview?

Section 59 of the document reads: "In November 2019, in response to this renewed scrutiny, Prince Andrew sat for an interview with BBC Newsnight.

"Prince Andrew stated that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein and that he had no recollection of meeting [Giuffre], despite photographic evidence to the contrary."

Why is the suit being filed now?

On 20 November, 2019, following the mass uproar caused by the Newsnight interview four days earlier, the duke stepped back from royal duties and said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace: "Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

Since then, he has been accused of refusing to cooperate with US authorities.

And Giuffre's lawyers said that on 19 July, they "proposed a tolling agreement that would have enabled [Giuffre] not to sue Prince Andrew at this time, while avoiding any argument that her failure to do so caused her claims to be time-barred".

However, it said the duke "again stonewalled", with no response to their letters and emails – "thereby making this action necessary now".

Read more:

Prince Andrew had 12 different phone numbers in Epstein's 'Black Book', Virginia Giuffre's US lawsuit claims

What happened in the year after Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties? (from November 2020)

Calling for a trial by jury, the suit, which has been filed at a federal court in New York, said: "In this country no person, whether president or prince, is above the law, and no person, no matter how powerless or vulnerable, can be deprived of the law’s protection.

"Twenty years ago Prince Andrew’s wealth, power, position, and connections enabled him to abuse a frightened, vulnerable child with no one there to protect her. It is long past the time for him to be held to account."

A spokeswoman for the duke said “no comment” when asked to respond to the suit on Tuesday.

Watch: Prince Andrew sex scandal ‘reveals just how fragile royals really are’

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