Prince Andrew accused of arrogance after ignoring warnings over ‘disastrous’ TV interview

‘He’s done himself no favours – where’s the humility?’

Peter Stubley
Sunday 17 November 2019 18:23
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Dickie Arbiter: Prince Andrew 'bulldozed' his way into BBC Newsnight interview

Prince Andrew has been accused of showing an “abundance of arrogance” and a lack of concern for the victims of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein by pushing ahead with his TV interview.

The Duke of York is believed to have personally made the decision to appear on BBC’s Newsnight despite warnings from at least one adviser about the damage to his reputation.

His performance prompted widespread criticism, with one former press secretary to the Queen, Dickie Arbiter, describing the interview as “not so much a car crash but an articulated lorry crash”.

“If Prince Andrew thinks he’s drawn a line in the sand over the Epstein saga he’s in cuckoo land,” added Mr Arbiter. “He’s done himself no favours – where’s the humility?”

Catherine Mayer, founder of the Women’s Equality Party, also questioned the prince’s intelligence, saying he was “too stupid to even pretend concern for Epstein’s victims” while Green Party co-leader Sian Berry said it was “not a very empathetic interview”.

During the hour-long programme, Andrew denied having sex with Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was abused by both Epstein and the royal when she was a teenager.

The prince said that one alleged encounter with the 17-year-old in 2001 could not have happened because he was at a party with his daughter Princess Beatrice at Pizza Express in Woking.

He went on to describe his relationship with Epstein as “seriously beneficial” because it gave him the opportunity to meet people and help prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

“Prince Andrew doesn’t regret his relationship with Epstein because he made useful contacts,” commented Mr Arbiter. “Dear God – no remorse for Epstein’s victims but an abundance of arrogance.”

Royal biographer Angela Levin agreed the prince’s decision to go ahead with the interview was a “sign of his arrogance”, telling the BBC: “I know for a fact Prince Andrew does not listen to his advisers.”

It follows reports that Andrew’s PR guru Jason Stein quit two weeks ago after advising him not to go ahead with it. Mr Arbiter said he believed that the royal had “bulldozed his way” past objections.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, Jack Scarola, responded to the interview by saying he would like to see the duke giving answers “under oath” rather than to the media.

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Criminal lawyer Anna Rothwell, from the firm Corker Binning, also described the TV appearance as “unwise” and a demonstration of his “appalling lack of judgement”.

She added: “Prince Andrew is not entitled to any form of immunity by virtue of his position as a member of the royal family. His friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is under investigation by the FBI and he is vulnerable to extradition.”

The prince was also ridiculed online for many of his explanations, including his attempt to contradict Ms Giuffre’s account by claiming he was unable to sweat due to “an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War”.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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