Royal aides 'happy' with Prince Andrew interview before public reaction, says Emily Maitlis

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·2-min read
EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY JULY 21 For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo showing the Duke of York, speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis. Maitlis has said she only realised the significance of her interview with the Duke of York after watching the footage.
The Duke of York speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis. (BBC/PA Images)

Royal aides were “happy” with Prince Andrew’s interview on BBC Newsnight before they saw the public reaction, Emily Maitlis has claimed.

Andrew’s interview, now rarely mentioned without the word ‘disastrous’ attached to it, eventually led to him stepping back from his royal duties, but aides were pleased with how it had gone before it aired.

Maitlis told the Radio Times: “We know that the palace was happy with the interview. We had plenty of engagement with them after it went out.

“I think their shock was not at the interview itself, but the reaction it caused in the days and weeks afterwards.”

The interview has been nominated in the news category for a Bafta. The television awards are being held on 31 July, with winners accepting the awards virtually.

It’s already won scoop of the year at the Royal Television Society Awards.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY JULY 21 File photo dated 11/09/18 of Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis who has said she only realised the significance of her interview with the Duke of York after watching the footage.
Emily Maitlis said the palace's team had been happy with the interview before it went out. (PA Images)

Read more: Prince Andrew absent from Beatrice's wedding photos – but she isolated with him before big day

But Maitlis said it wasn’t until she and her producer, Esme Wren, watched the footage in the editing suite that she had realised the significance of the piece.

The presenter said she knew the interview was good within the first few minutes, explaining: “First, he was tackling the subject matter head on.

“Secondly, the lack of apology or any real expression of regret told me that the prince still believed that his actions had broadly been the right ones.

“And thirdly, the level of detail was unlike anything I was expecting.”

In the fallout of the interview, Andrew, 60, stepped back from public life, expressing regret that he had not showed remorse for the victims.

Read more: Prince Andrew's website taken down eight months after he stepped back from royal duties

He said his friendship with Epstein had become a distraction from the work of his family.

Earlier this month his website was taken down, with the palace explaining the contract with the host provider had expired. Instead, it now redirects to the Royal Family’s main website.

The palace described him as a working royal, despite him not carrying out any engagements for the Queen since November.

Andrew was present at the private wedding of his daughter Princess Beatrice, who he walked down the aisle as she married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

His link to the Epstein investigation has been back in the public eye after his friend and the former girlfriend of Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested and charged with six offences.

Prosecutors in the US have asked for the duke to speak to them, but he claims he has made several offers.