Emily Maitlis said that she worried her infamous Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew would “hurt” his daughters.
The former BBC presenter has revealed the impact of her November 2019 interview in which the Duke of York addressed allegations regarding his friendship with the late convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, and allegations that Virginia Giuffre was trafficked to have sex with him when she was 17.
The fallout from the interview was catastrophic for the Duke.
Queen Elizabeth II had stripped him of his royal patronages, military affiliations and use of his HRH title, following backlash from the accusations and subsequent Newsnight appearance.
He settled a civil lawsuit brought by Ms Giuffre for a reported £12 million in February 2022.
He denies the allegations.
However, Ms Maitlis has revealed the personal toll that the interview had on her, claiming that she struggled “in the aftermath” of the explosive broadcast regarding how it would impact Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
“How could an interview that aimed to provide answers for vulnerable young women not end up hurting other vulnerable young women — his daughters — along the way?”
Writing in The Sunday Times, she said: “In truth, I think we always suspected the interview could come to define the prince. I think I was less prepared for the way it would come to define me too.”
Her comments come just days before the airing of a new two-part Channel 4 documentary, Andrew – The Problem Prince – and a week before the Prince’s brother, King Charles III is set to be officially crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 6.
In the forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, Ms Maitlis also reveals that the late Queen realised that her son’s televised interview regarding the Epstein scandal could be a PR disaster before he did. Meanwhile, Prince Andrew had been “very jolly” when the cameras stopped rolling and clearly believed it had gone well.
Ms Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, later sued the Duke in a US court, alleging that he had sexually abused her on three occasions in 2001 when she was 17.
Sigrid McCawley, a member of Ms Giuffre’s legal team, told the documentary she had been “thrilled” with the interview.
“You couldn’t have handed me a better present,” she added. “He said so many provably false things. It was just a roadmap to tear him apart.”
Epstein was found dead in his prison cell in August 2019 and a New York City medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
Following his death, the criminal case against him, alleging sexual abuse against victims as young as 14, could not continue. In 2008 he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, serving 13.