Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview was ‘jaw-dropping’, says presenter Emily Maitlis

Journalist says astonishing question and answer session on flagship BBC show now feels ‘deadly serious’

Laurie Churchman
Friday 14 January 2022 20:29 GMT
Prince Andrew claims he had a medical condition which meant he was unable to sweat
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BBC journalist Emily Maitlis has given a behind-the-scenes account of what she called a “jaw-dropping” interview she conducted with Prince Andrew in 2019.

The Newsnight presenter detailed how the prince told her in advance about some of the claims in the 2019 interview – including the moment he said he was unable to sweat in a BBC article.

“At the time, the specifics seemed almost comical,” Ms Maitlis said. “But now, suddenly, they feel deadly serious.”

A New York judge this week ruled that Virginia Giuffre’s civil sex assault lawsuit against the Duke of York could proceed.

Andrew, 61, has since been stripped of his his military titles, can no longer call himself His Royal Highness, and will face the case as a “private citizen”.

In the interview, Ms Maitlis asked the prince about his relationship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and about the sexual abuse allegations made by Ms Giuffre. The duke strongly denies all the allegations against him.

“The answers he gave me on camera may have seemed astonishing, jaw-dropping, even, in places,” Ms Maitlis said.

“But bizarrely, I had been expecting them. We had talked through the things he wanted to say earlier, so part of my job that day was just to let him speak. To let him explain to the world his own version of events.”

Ms Maitlis said the interview was not designed to “catch out” the duke. Instead, it was “to have a record of Prince Andrew’s own version of events”.

Ms Maitlis said watching the interview back makes her “catch [her] breath”.

She said: “When I listen back to the questions I posed that day there is a directness to them that even now makes me catch my breath. I can’t quite believe that the words came out in the order I intended. But they had to. Because we had just one chance.”

During the interview, the duke denied he slept with Ms Giuffre, saying an encounter could not have taken place because he was at a branch of Pizza Express in Woking with his daughter Princess Beatrice.

He also said Ms Giuffre’s claim he was sweaty at a nightclub was untrue because an “overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands war” had left him unable to sweat.

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