The late Queen, Elizabeth II, reportedly realised how catastrophic Prince Andrew’s Newsnight interview went – and immediately summoned him after she read the transcript.
The Duke of York was described as “very jolly” once cameras had stopped rolling by Emily Maitlis, the journalist who conducted the interview. However, he was reportedly summoned by aides to see the Queen just hours before the broadcast.
Ms Maitlis told a two-part documentary, The Problem Prince, which is due to begin on Channel 4 next Monday (May 1): “It was only on the Saturday when the Queen had reportedly read the whole transcript that he received a tap on the shoulder by his security detail.
“And they said, I think, ‘Sir, you might have to come with us.’ It was after the Queen had seen what the interview contained that I think it dawned on her.”
Read more: Prince Andrew likely to continue with ‘honour’ role at Coronation
The fallout from the interview, which was conducted in November 2019, was disastrous for Andrew, who failed to show remorse or regret for his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender, or empathise with the victims. The feedback was so disastrous in fact, that the Duke ‘stepped back’ as a working Royal within days.
Virginia Giuffre, a victim of Epstein, sued Andrew in an American court, claiming that he had sexually abused her three times in 2001. A member of Ms Giuffre’s legal team, Sigrid McCawley, spoke of being “thrilled” following the interview.
She said: “You couldn’t have handed me a better present.
“He said so may provably false things. It was just a roadmap to tear him apart.”
The documentary will recount the Duke’s tumultuous journey, going from his tenure as a Falklands war hero, being nicknamed “Randy Andy”, his period as trade envoy and his steep fall as a result of his relationship with Epstein.
Paul Tweed, a friend of the Duke and a media lawyer, said he cautioned Amanda Thirsk, the Royal’s then-chief of staff, that the interview was a “bad idea” two days before however she “abruptly” hung up on him.
He remembered: “I said no way, no, no, no.
“That’s a bad idea, you should not do it. The Duke made that decision on his own, against most advice.”
After finishing the interview, the BBC were amazed at how successful it had been for them, but remained fearful that Buckingham Palace would cut back the program due to how catastrophically it had gone for the “euphoric” Duke.
Maitlis said: “We had got an interview the likes of which had never been seen before.”
The Problem Prince will air on Channel 4 on May 1 and May 8.