Prince Andrew: 'Long road back to public life' says expert
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In the wake of Prince Philip’s death, Andrew has been seen out in public for the first time since stepping back from public duties. He gave an emotional tribute to his father outside church two days after his passing, and walked in the procession behind his coffin at his funeral. Before these two appearances, he had been quiet since his interview with Ms Maitlis, after which she claimed he made her a short-sighted offer.
He suggested that “next time” she came to Buckingham Palace they should discuss his venture Pitch at Palace, Ms Maitliss wrote in the Times in 2019.
This comment showed that the Duke of York had no idea how badly the interview would be received.
Instead of getting back to his work, as he intended, just days after the interview, he was effectively sacked from public duty, stepping down from all his associations until further notice.
The interview involved Ms Maitlis grilling the Duke about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
According to a source close to Andrew, he hoped it would end the “sniping and commentary” about his association with Epstein.
Dubbed a “car crash”, the Newsnight interview added fuel to the fire, as the Duke infuriated viewers with his perceived lack of empathy for the victims of Epstein.
However, his final words to Ms Maitlis as she left the Palace showed that he believed he had done enough to draw a line under it.
The broadcaster wrote in The Times: “As we part, he walks me back down the Marble Hall until we stop at a statue of Prince Albert. ‘The first royal entrepreneur,’ he tells me proudly.
“’Next time you come, we will talk about Pitch at Palace’.
“It nods to the fact he feels he will now get on with the work he loves.”
However, Ms Maitlis acknowledged the invite is unlikely to come now.
She wrote: “I probably shouldn’t wait by the phone.”
Palace sources described the Duke’s performance as “utterly jaw-dropping”, with one insider suggesting aides were left “dumbfounded” after watching the interview.
However, the Duke reportedly saw it differently, telling friends he thought it went “pretty well”.
Andrew told aides he was “happy” with his performance, and a friend of the royal told The Sun: “The Duke went to church with the Queen [on Sunday] and was heard telling her it’s all been a great success.
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“He thinks he’s done the right thing and has put the criticism to rest.
“He was all smiles and looking buoyant and happy.”
In the interview, Ms Maitlis quizzed Andrew on his friendship with Epstein and accusations levelled against the Duke himself.
Epstein, who died in prison in 2019, was convicted of procuring a child for prostitution in 2008 and soliciting a prostitute, and served 13 months in custody.
He was later arrested again and charged with sex-trafficking offences, but was found dead in his cell while awaiting trial.
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His girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused of being a co-conspirator in his sex-trafficking operation and has been charged with the trafficking of underage girls and enticement of minors, which she vehemently denies.
Andrew has been criticised for associating with the pair over the years and especially for staying in Epstein’s Manhattan house after he was released from prison the first time.
The Duke claimed his four-day trip to New York was to break off his friendship with Epstein.
When asked why he had to do this in person, Andrew said he has a tendency to be “too honourable”, a comment that drew ridicule from BBC viewers.
Andrew was also asked about allegations from Virginia Roberts Giuffre, an alleged sex trafficking victim of Epstein, who claims the Duke had sex with her three times when she was 17.
He vehemently denies this allegation.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.
“Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”
Andrew agreed to the Newsnight interview in the hopes of quelling the increasing levels of criticism levelled at him.
However, his apparent lack of remorse for his friendship with Epstein, despite what is now known about him, led to an onslaught of further criticism.
He was also mocked for various claims, such as his claim he was at Pizza Express in Woking on the day of one of the alleged encounters with Ms Roberts, and his claim that her description of him as sweating “profusely” on the night they met in London could not be true, because he had a medical condition triggered by his service in the Falklands which means he cannot sweat.
After the interview was broadcast, Andrew stepped back from public duties.
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