Over a gruelling 60 minutes on Saturday night Prince Andrew was confronted with some of the most embarrassing questions ever put to a member of the Royal family.
Interviewed by BBC Newnight presenter Emily Maitlis he denied ever having slept with a 17-year-old girl, admitted the controversy over his friendship with child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was a constant sore for the Royal family, but said he does not regrethis friendship with the sex offender.
The Pizza Express Trip
The Prince was questioned over Virginia Roberts-Giuffre’s claims that he slept with her at the London home of Robert Maxwell’s daughter Ghislaine, when she was just 17.
The Prince is adamant in the interview that he never had sex with Ms Roberts and gives a number of reasons why she cannot be telling the truth, including that he has a medical condition that prevents him from sweating, as she claims he did.
Ms Maitlis puts to him: “She [Roberts] says she met you in 2001, she dined with you, she danced with you, you bought her drinks, you were in Tramp Nightclub in London and she went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell.”
He then adds that he was at home with his children after taking Beatrice to Pizza Express on the night Roberts claimed he was dancing with her at Tramps.
'I don't sweat'
In response to her claim that he was sweating profusely that night, he says that would have been impossible.
He said: “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 adrenaline in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply...it was almost impossible for me to sweat.”
The Prince also denies having bought her a drink at Tramps nightclub, because he does not drink himself.
“I’m convinced that I was never in Tramps with her. There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramps. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there,” he said.
The Duke suggests he felt compelled to speak out over Epstein for mental health reasons, saying it has been an issue for him which has been dogging him for years, creating huge stresses.
He said: “I would prefer to be able to, as it were, resolve things in a way that is sensible. And so choosing to, as it were, get out there and talk about these things, it’s almost...it’s almost a mental health issue to some extent for me in the sense that it’s been nagging at my mind for a great many years.
“I know that I made the wrong judgement and I made the wrong decision but I made the wrong decision and the wrong judgement I believe fundamentally for the right reasons which is to say to somebody ‘I’m not going to see you again’.”
The Duke admits the controversy over his friendship with Epstein has been a source of friction within the Royal family.
He tells Ms Maitlis: “It has been, what I would describe as a constant sore in the family. We all knew him and I think that if we have a conversation about it, it’s...we are all left with the same thing, what on earth happened or how did he get to where he was, what did he do, how did he do it?”
But he rejects the idea that the Queen herself has been damaged by the claims, stating: “It has to me and it’s been a constant drip.”
Prince Andrew says the wider Royal family "couldn't be more supportive."
During the interview the Prince was asked why he insisted on maintaining his friendship with Epstein even after the paedophile financier was released from prison in 2010.
He replied: “I stayed with him and that’s…that’s…that’s the bit that…that…that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis.
“Because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.”
Doubt over photograph
In the interview Prince Andrew continues to cast doubt on the veracity of the photograph taken of himself with his arm around Virginia Roberts at his friend Ghislaine Maxwell’s London home.
He stated: “I am not one to, as it were, hug and public displays of affection are not something that I do. So that’s the best explanation I can give you and I’m afraid to say that I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested.”
Inside Epstein 's house
Prince Andrew says Epstein’s house had so many people coming and going it was like a railway station.
But he denies ever seeing under-age girls in there.
He also adds that he never saw anything there which aroused his suspicions and suggests that he thought that many of the people wandering around may have been Epstein’s staff, because that is what he is used to.
“I live in an institution at Buckingham Palace which has members of staff walking around all the time and I don’t wish to appear grand but there were a lot of people who were walking around Jeffrey Epstein’s house,” he said.
“As far as I was aware, they were staff, they were people that were working for him.”
At no stage in the interview does Prince Andrew seem express any sympathy for the known sex abuse victims of Epstein, although he says it is "quite right" they are now being heard".
At one stage, asked by Ms Maitlis whether he has any message for Ms Roberts he says: “I don’t have a message for her because I have to have a thick skin. If somebody is going to make those sorts of allegations then I’ve got to have a thick skin and get on with it but they never happened.”
Adding to his denials, Prince Andrew says it is "very difficult to try and forget a positive action" like sexual intercourse, adding: "I’ve been through it and through it and through it over and over and over again and no, nothing. It just never happened."
Evidence under oath
Prince Andrew said he would give evidence under oath if required so, stating: “If push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so, then I would be duty bound to do so [give evidence under oath]. "
He also admitted “undoubtedly some very strange and unpleasant activities have been going on,” under Epstein’s roof, but appears to blame his former friend Ghislaine for his predicament.
“It’s quite easy I’m led to believe for those sorts of people to hide their activities for that period of time and then carry on when they’re not there.
If there are questions that Ghislaine has to answer, that's her problem I'm afraid,” he said
Astonishingly Prince Andrew says he does not regret his friendship with Epstein.
Responding to Ms Maitlis he said: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”
The Duke says he is "just as much in the dark as many people" about the allegations made about Epstein.
Prince Andrew insists he only visited Epstein in December 2010 to break off their friendship after he was released from prison.
But the Duke has now admitted to Ms Maitlis that he attended a dinner party held to celebrate Epstein’s freedom.
He told her: “It was a small dinner party, there were eight or ten of us I think at the dinner.”
When she says: “You were invited to that dinner as a guest of honour” the Duke replies: “Well I was there so there was a dinner, I don’t think it was quite as you might put it, but yeah, okay I was there.”
Beatrice’s 18th birthday
It emerges in the interview that Prince Andrew invited Epstein to Windsor Castle for the 18th birthday party of his daughter Beatrice in July 2006, just two months after an arrest warrant had been issued on Epstein for sexually assaulting a minor.
Andrew claims he knew nothing about the warrant at the time of Beatrice’s party.
He told Ms Maitlis: “I...certainly I wasn’t aware when the invitation was issued what was going on in the United States and I wasn’t aware until the media picked up on it because he never said anything about it.”
The Duke said that with "hindsight" his decision to stay at Epstein's house was "definitely the wrong thing to do" and that his judgment was "probably coloured" at the time.
When it was pointed out during the interview that he was staying at the house of a "convicted sex offender", Andrew said: "It was a convenient place to stay... There is... I have gone through this in my mind so many times.
"At the end of the day, with the benefit of all the hindsight one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. "But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do.
"And I admit fully that my judgment was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that is just the way it is."
The Prince even implied there were doubts over whether Epstein had indeed killed himself in his prison cell earlier this year.
Ms Maitlis said: “Some people think that he didn’t take his own life.”, to which the Prince replies: “There again, I’m not one to be able to answer that question. I believe that centres around something to do with a bone in his neck so whether or not if you commit suicide that bone breaks or something. But I’m afraid to say I’m not an expert, I have to take what the Coroner says and he has ruled that it was suicide so..."