On Nov. 16, the BBC released an interview with Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew, duke of York, where they discussed the prince’s relation with convicted and recently deceased sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Many viewers have found this interview to have been a public relations disaster not only for him, but for the British royal family. This is also the first time the duke of York has publicly spoken out about this scandal.
Epstein was a financier and socialite who was charged and convicted of child prostitiution and sex trafficking. His sex crimes have dated back to 2001. He also had personal relations with current president, Donald Trump and former president, Bill Clinton. On Aug. 10, Epstein died in his prison cell from what was ruled a suicide. At the time of his death, he was awaiting trial for his charges.
In the interview, Prince Andrew described Epstein as “extraordinary,” in that he was able to bring together celebrities, politicians, and other social elites. The prince stated that he did not think of Epstein as a close friend and when he did know him, he had no knowledge about him trafficking and abusing young girls. He stated that there were no “indications” that would have led him to assume he was committing such crimes.
Maitlis had also asked about the prince’s visits to Epstein’s homes in New York and Florida, how Epstein was invited to certain royal estates and events while being investigated by police, as well as the prince’s termination of his friendship with Epstein before he was jailed.
In a particularly memorable section of the interview, Maitlis asked about a woman named Virginia Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein and had accused the prince of sexually assaulting her back in 2001. The prince has denied these allegations as he said in the interview, he has “no recollection of ever meeting this lady.” He also claims that that night he supposedly had the encounter with Giuffre, he was at home with his two daughters. Maitlis and the prince discussed the photo that contained him and Giuffre together and he said that “you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not…”
In another recent interview, Giuffre spoke with BBC Panorama about her story and accusations. She addressed a message to the British people saying “this is a story of being trafficked. This is a story of being abused. And this is a story of your guy’s royalty.”
The prince stated his regrets on certain decisions he made when still involved with Epstein. When Maitlis pointed out he was staying in Epstein’s mansion in New York, even after he was convicted, he responded by saying “at the end of the day, with the benefit of all the hindsight that one could have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.”
Prince Andrew however does not regret his overall friendship with Epstein, not only because of the famous people he has met through him, but also because of the “opportunities [he] was given to learn either by him or because of him, were actually very useful.”
After his “disastrous” interview, CBS has reported that Prince Andrew is now leaving Buckingham Palace and will be taking a break from his public duties. This scandal has also led Prince Andrew to resign as chancellor for the University of Huddersfield amid student backlash and protests.