Emily Maitlis wonders if Prince Andrew interview 'hurt' daughters

‘I was less prepared for the way it would come to define me too’: Emily Maitlis says she wonders if infamous Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew ‘hurt’ his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie

  •  Former BBC presenter has revealed the impact of her 2019 Newsnight interview
  •  She said pair would be ‘forever interlinked’ by the ‘most imaginative of excuses’
  •  Ms Maitlis said three years on she is still asked about Prince Andrew interview

Former BBC presenter Emily Maitlis has revealed she fears her now-infamous Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew may have come to ‘hurt’ his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.

The Duke of York’s disastrous BBC interview in 2019, which addressed allegations that Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre was trafficked to have sex with him when she was 17, heralded the beginning of the end for his role within the royal family.

Within two years of that interview the Queen had stripped him of his military affiliations, royal patronages and use of his HRH title and he settled a civil lawsuit brought by Ms Giuffre for a reported £12million ($16.3m).

But there was equally an impact on his interviewer as well, Ms Maitlis revealed in a column for The Times, which comes just days before the airing of a new two-part Channel 4 documentary, Andrew – The Problem Prince – and a week before the King is set to be officially crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 6.

Ms Maitlis said the pair would ‘be forever interlinked by the most random of locations (Pizza Express, Woking) and the most imaginative of excuses (an inability to sweat).’

Former BBC presenter has revealed the impact of her BBC Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew three years on, including whether it brought ‘harm’ to his daughters

Ms Maitlis said the pair would ‘ be forever interlinked by the most random of locations (Pizza Express, Woking) and the most imaginative of excuses (an inability to sweat)’

Ms Maitlis said: ‘How could an interview that aimed to provide answers for vulnerable young women not end up hurting other vulnerable young women — his daughters — along the way?’

Newsnight producer Sam McAlister claimed Prince Andrew (right) was ‘euphoric’ after his interview with Emily Maitlis (left) because ‘he thought it had gone really well’

But she equally struggled ‘in the aftermath’ with how Prince Andrew’s revelations would impact his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie.

‘How could an interview that aimed to provide answers for vulnerable young women not end up hurting other vulnerable young women — his daughters — along the way?’

Ms Maitlis also revealed how three years on after the interview she is asked to speak at events on global issues or the political landscape, but audiences almost always ask about her Prince Andrew interview and whether she foresaw the fallout it would cause.


Old friends: Lawyer Paul Tweed with the Duke of York

She wrote:  ‘In truth, I think we always suspected the interview could come to define the prince. I think I was less prepared for the way it would come to define me too.’

With the benefit of hindsight, the former BBC journalist questioned whether Prince Andrew had agreed to the interview to clear his name for the sake of Beatrice, ahead of her wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi just months later.

Similar comments have recently been made by Newsnight producer Sam McAlister, who reveals in the upcoming Channel 4 documentary that the duke had taken his daughter, Princess Beatrice, with him to the final negotiations with the BBC over what should be included in the interview.

‘Can you imagine being in Buckingham Palace, about to talk to a member of the royal family about sexual offences? That’s pretty tricky – and now I’ve got to do it in front of his daughter,’ the producer said. 

Ms Maitlis said she thought at the time that he might have agreed to speak in an attempt to make amends with his daughter, who had recently got engaged.

She told the Channel 4 documentary: ‘It’s the first time the thought crossed my mind that maybe he was doing it for her.

‘Your life has been hellish. You’ve had to read these headlines. You’re trying to get married. I’m going to do this to make it better for you. I don’t know if that’s true, but it crossed my mind.’

She also revealed in today’s column how she was unprepared for the global impact the interview made – and continues to make today, with a Netflix drama in the pipeline starring Sex Education star Gillian Anderson as Ms Maitlis and The Man In The High Castle actor Rufus Sewell as Andrew. 

In the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, which explores the story behind the Newsnight interview, Ms Maitlis reveals that the late Queen realised it could be a PR disaster before Prince Andrew did.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre and Ghislaine Maxwell posing in a picture taken in Maxwell’s mews house

Ms Maitlis revealed the monarch was handed a transcript of the Duke of York’s appearance on the BBC’s flagship news programme, in which he was asked about his association with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Shortly afterwards, the duke, who was said to be ‘euphoric’ following the interview which he thought had gone ‘really well’, was apparently tapped on the shoulder by his security detail and ushered away.

The interview was the perfect gift to Virginia Giuffre because it contained ‘so many probably false things’, her lawyer has said.

Attorney Sigrid McCawley said that the Duke of York’s series of blunders and bizarre defence of his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein in the 2019 interview provided them with a ‘roadmap to tear him apart’.

During the original Newsnight broadcast, the duke denied he had sex with Ms Giuffre, said he had no recollection of ever meeting her and that he had spent the day in question at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, at a party with one of his daughters. 

Ms Giuffre said Andrew sweated heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp in one alleged encounter.

The duke told Ms Maitlis his Falklands War service had caused a medical condition, at the time, which meant he did not sweat.

One of Prince Andrew’s friends, Irish defamation lawyer Paul Tweed, told the documentary he tried to talk the duke out of giving the interview.

Ms Maitlis revealed she was ‘shocked’ by some of the duke’s responses and described it as ‘a tidal wave of bad answers’.

She said: ‘This is how I know that Prince Andrew is happy with the interview because he stayed chatting. He seemed very jolly.

‘A whole load of people came in and I said, “What’s going on?” They said, “OK, Thursday evenings we have the cinema night at the palace. You can stay if you want.” 

And at that point, I just thought, I’ve got to get away from here. I needed the space to work out what just happened.’

Following the BBC broadcast in November 2019 and the furore over Andrew’s friendship with Epstein, the duke stepped down from public life.

Last year, he reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre reportedly worth up to $12million (£9.6million) following her civil sex claim against him in the US.

He vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.

Representatives for Prince Andrew have been contacted for comment. 

Andrew: The Problem Prince airs Monday 1 and Monday 8 May at 9pm on Channel 4 

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