‘Too stupid to even pretend concern’: Prince Andrew savaged for lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims

‘Prince Andrew literally has no remorse or regard for the women abused and clearly does not see the problem with being pals with Epstein … The systematic abuse of power is unbelievable’

Phoebe Weston
Sunday 17 November 2019 13:44
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Prince Andrew claims that he was at Pizza Express on the day his accuser says she had sex with him

Prince Andrew has been criticised for his explosive Saturday night interview with BBC’s Newsnight with equality campaigners saying he was “too stupid to even pretend concern for Epstein's victims”.

The television interview was seen as the royal’s attempt to draw a line under his controversial relationship with the disgraced financier, and to publicly deny claims he had underage sex with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the young women to fall victim to the billionaire paedophile, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges.

But he stated twice his relationship with Epstein had some “seriously beneficial outcomes”, as it gave him the opportunity to meet people and help prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

Catherine Mayer, founder of the Women’s Equality Party, questioned the Prince’s intelligence, saying he was “too stupid to even pretend concern for Epstein’s victims”.

She tweeted: “Andrew says he ‘let the side down’. It’s a revealing phrase. He cares about the reputational damage to the monarchy, to himself.

“What sign is there of any contrition or even recognition of the damage wrought by Epstein and his circle of participants and enablers of sexual abuse?

Prince Andrew's PR guru Jason Stein is said to have quit working for him just two weeks before the BBC interview after advising him not to go ahead with it.

The duke denied he slept with Ms Roberts Giuffre on three separate occasions when questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they had spent the rest of the day together.

Catherine Mayer, founder of the Women’s Equality Party, questioned the Prince’s intelligence

The American alleged the liaison began with the royal sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp – a claim the prince rebutted by saying he had a medical condition at the time which meant he could not sweat.

Dr Ann Olivarius, a senior partner at law firm McAllister Olivarus, criticised Prince Andrew for his “staggering impunity, wilful ignorance and laughable (well, if young women’s safety weren’t at stake) self-delusion”.

She tweeted: “Prince Andrew didn’t let ‘the side’ down. He let Epstein’s victims down.

“That he still doesn’t think of them but on the impact on the royal family and himself, explains why Andrew stayed friends with Epstein in the first place.”

Hannah Bardell, SNP spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, described the interview as “sickening”.

Prince Andrew literally has no remorse or regard for the women abused and clearly does not see the problem with being pals with Epstein … The systematic abuse of power is unbelievable.

Hannah Bardell, SNP spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport described the interview as ‘sickening’

The duke said the whole episode had not been damaging to the Queen, only to himself, and that the wider royal family “couldn’t be more supportive”.

Public relations and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski said: “I have never seen anything so disastrous. For any students of PR, that is how not to do it.

“It was like watching a man in quicksand and, unfortunately, I don’t think anyone would have thrown him a line to get him out.”

Ms Roberts Giuffre has alleged in court documents she “was forced to have sexual relations with this prince when she was a minor” in London and New York.

Later, when aged 18, she alleges they had sex again on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein where an orgy took place. Her allegations were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent”.

Ms Maitlis quizzed the duke about the claims: “Are you saying you don’t believe her, she’s lying?”

The duke replied: “That’s a very difficult thing to answer because I’m not in a position to know what she’s trying to achieve, but I can tell you categorically I don’t remember meeting her at all.

“I do not remember a photograph being taken and I’ve said consistently and frequently that we never had any sort of sexual contact whatever.”

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But Andrew was not without his defenders. Former wife Sarah Ferguson said before the show went to air: “It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remain steadfast and strong to their beliefs.

Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness.”

Rape Crisis Scotland urged those commenting on the Newsnight interview to “do so with care and compassion” for the sake of all survivors of sexual abuse.

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