Royal Family Struggles With Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein
The British royal family is still coping with the disastrous TV interview the Duke of York, a.k.a. Prince Andrew, sat down for last month concerning his relationship with convicted and now-deceased (via alleged suicide) sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. This week, he and Buckingham Palace responded to a new interview with a woman who accuses him of sexual assault. Their messaging has been decidedly mixed.
Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre), the woman who says Prince Andrew had sex with her three times when she was underage, did a BBC interview that aired Mon., Dec. 2, in response to his interview in which he denied ever having met her. “I’m calling B.S. on this,” Roberts said. “He knows what happened.”
The Roberts broadcast “drew another flood of revulsion from the British public, many of whom posted their reactions on social media,” according to The New York Times.
There has never been an interview like this before.
— Emily Maitlis of the BBC
In response, the royal family put out two short statements. The first said Prince Andrew regretted his friendship with Epstein and expressed some sympathy with the dead man’s victims; this was significant because he had said and done neither in his Nov. 16 BBC interview (pictured). The second reiterated his denial that he had “any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts.”
Those messages echoed what Prince Andrew said in a statement four days after his November interview aired, a statement in which he announced he would step down from his public duties because of the scandal, which was obviously taking its toll.
“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein,” he wrote last month. “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.”
Yet, in his interview with Emily Maitlis on BBC’s Newsnight program, he repeatedly said he didn’t rue his relationship with Epstein because of all he learned from him and those around him (“Do you regret the whole friendship with Epstein?” “Now? Still not”). This clearly wasn’t what people wanted to hear.
That interview is universally viewed a disaster because his answers were so cringe-worthy (he also laughed inappropriately in places).
Prince Andrew said that after Epstein was convicted of soliciting a minor in 2008, he stayed at Epstein’s Manhattan house in 2010 only to tell him they couldn’t be associated anymore. He said he felt he had to do this in person, and came off as more solicitous of Epstein’s feelings than those of his victims. Why did he lodge at Epstein’s house for four days? “It was a convenient place to stay,” he explained.
As for Roberts, Prince Andrew said he had no recollection of meeting her, let alone having sex with her. This, despite the existence of a now-infamous photo of them together, his hand on her bare waist, with Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell smiling in the background. Prince Andrew said while it’s him in the photo, it may not be his hand — the picture could have been doctored.
“The reaction to Prince Andrew’s remarks was swift and overwhelmingly negative” — including several charities distancing themselves from him, The New York Times reported.
Even journalist Maitlis admitted the exchange was highly unusual. “You faced questions today on a very, very raw subject,” she said. “There has never been an interview like this before.”
Let’s hope we don’t see another one like it for some time.
Photo Credit: BBC via YouTube
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