A Naive and Not Self-Aware Royal Figure


Prince Andrew is ‘naive, not self-aware and did Newsnight interview against advice’, claims royal author
A royal biographer described Prince Andrew as a man “brought up in a bubble” whose “very naive” attitude factored into his decision to participate in the now-infamous Newsnight interview in 2019.
Widely perceived as a “car crash” at the time, the interview with Emily Maitlis saw the Duke of York suggest he couldn’t sweat and had been “too honourable” to end his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
He stepped back from public duties shortly after it aired.
In the Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew also addressed allegations made by Virginia Giuffre that he sexually assaulted her three times when she was a teenager — in London, New York and on Epstein’s private island, Little St. James.

A Royal Author’s Critical Analysis

Andrew has consistently and vehemently denied these claims and that he had ever met Giuffre. He reached a multimillion out-of-court settlement with her in 2022.
Before settling with Giuffre, he was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages by Queen Elizabeth in January 2022 and his official style of ‘His Royal Highness’.
“With the Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military attach and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen,” a palace statement said.
“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”
Andrew Lownie — author of Traitor King — said on an episode of the Scandal Mongers podcast regarding Prince Andrew’s friendship with Epstein that he “is very naive and he’s very loyal as he said [in the Newsnight interview] he’s been brought up in a bubble with all the people around him telling him how wonderful he is and that he can do no wrong.

Naivety Unveiled by a Royal Author

A PIZZA Express in Woking. The inability to sweat. A tendency to be “too honourable”. Prince Andrew’s 2019 Newsnight interview was a bonanza of bizarre excuses – in which he disastrously tried to defend himself from allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl trafficked by his friend Jeffrey Epstein. Greeted with a riot of disbelief, anger and meme-making by the public, it was the most explosive royal interview of the decade. But how on Earth did it happen in the first place?
A new documentary, airing as part of Channel 4’s alternative coronation coverage, is lifting the lid on this remarkably misguided interview. But Andrew: The Problem Prince starts with an entirely different TV appearance. It’s 1985, and the prince is primarily known as a pin-up, playboy and the Falklands hero who risked his life for his country. He is also known as Randy Andy, a nickname referenced by his interviewer on this occasion, a giggling Selina Scott. Andrew shrugs it off with effortless charm and humour. The audience howls in approval. “It was a badge of honour then – the idea of this young prince cutting a swathe through the aristocratic women of London was something to be admired,” says James Goldston, former president of ABC News and one of the documentary’s producers. “There was zero conversation at the time about: are there ethical or moral issues involved in this?”

Fast-forward three decades, and Sam McAlister, a guest booker on Newsnight, receives an email from a PR company offering an interview with Prince Andrew about his charity work. She declines because it sounds like a puff piece, but the exchange prompts months of negotiations about a more wide-ranging interview, which McAlister again rejects because the palace has a single stipulation: all questions about convicted paedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein are off the table.
But then Epstein is found dead in his New York prison cell. Until that point, the man Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis describes as “America’s Jimmy Savile” had been a peripheral figure in the public consciousness: now he is centre stage, and the prince’s friendship with him is under the media’s microscope. Eventually, Andrew’s team changed their minds. McAlister – whose book Scoops: The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews from Steven Seagal to Prince Andrew inspired this documentary – can barely believe her luck.

Prince Andrew’s Ill-Advised Decision

It only gets weirder from there. Andrew brings his daughter Beatrice to a meeting with McAlister and Maitlis. He seems delighted after the interview, inviting the Newsnight team to stick around for a cinema night at Buckingham Palace. Only when the Queen receives the transcript and Andrew gets a “tap on the shoulder” from the palace (according to Maitlis) does the catastrophe clear to him. The interview then prompts Virginia Giuffre – who claims the prince had sex with her on several occasions when she was 17 – to pursue Andrew legally. The lawyers interviewed for the documentary “are very specific”, says Goldston. “What he said opened the door to bringing that legal action which ultimately destroyed him.” In 2022, Andrew settled out of court.

About the author

Olivia Wilson

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