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.
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.
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.