Emily Maitlis says Prince Andrew interview ‘wasn’t an attempt to bring down the royals’

‘I admire him for his candour,’ says BBC presenter

Prince Andrew claims he had a medical condition which meant he was unable to sweat

Emily Maitlis has said her BBC Newsnight interview with the Duke of York “wasn’t an attempt to bring down the royals”.

Last month, the broadcaster interviewed Prince Andrew about his relationship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The duke was also asked to address allegations made by Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was forced to have sex with the royal when she was 17 years old.

In the interview, Prince Andrew denied Ms Giuffre’s claims and said an alleged encounter with her in 2001 could not have happened as he spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

But his responses were widely criticised, with many viewers accusing him of being unsympathetic towards Epstein’s victims, while others said he showed a lack of remorse.

Speaking to the Radio Times, the broadcaster explained that the backlash took her by surprise.

“I didn’t see it coming,” Ms Maitlis said. “It wasn’t an attempt to bring down the royals, just a chance to understand the story.

“I didn’t like people saying, ‘Oh, it’s a car crash interview’, because I thought, ‘That’s not enticing, that’s not encouraging’.

“I don’t want people thinking that’s what happens at Newsnight.”

Ms Maitlis went on to say that she felt Prince Andrew “had been happy” with the way the interview had gone and praised him for his openness.

“I admire him for his candour and his engagement with the questions in an age of so much deviation and circumnavigation, and quite often a failure to put yourself up for scrutiny,” she said.

In a piece for The Times, Ms Maitlis had claimed that the Queen had approved her interview with the duke.

Describing the final stages of securing the interview, Ms Maitlis wrote: “We have finished laying out our pitch. An awkward moment of silence falls. And the duke tells us he must ‘seek approval’ from higher​ up.

“It dawns on us then that he means the Queen herself. At 8am the next day we have a message telling us to call his office. The Queen, it seems, is on board.”

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