Advertisement

The biggest revelations from Prince Andrew's 'car crash' Newsnight interview

With the Duke of York's disastrous interview being portrayed on the big screen in 'Scoop', here are the highlights of his original sit-down with Emily Maitlis.

Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview in November 2019 caused a huge PR fallout for the royals.
Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview in November 2019 caused a huge PR fallout for the royals.

Netflix viewers say they are outraged by an "unnecessary" moment in the new film about Prince Andrew's disastrous Newsnight interview.

Scoop, which was released on the streaming service last Friday, depicts the Duke of York's painful exchange with veteran journalist Emily Maitlis in November 2019, which focused on his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and led to him standing down as a full-time royal.

Actor Rufus Sewell's portrayal of the Duke has been universally praised, but viewers have questioned a scene after the interview, in which he is seen getting out of the bath.

Many users on X, formerly Twitter, wrote: "Did we really need to see Prince Andrew's bare a***?"

Journalist Rob Lownie wrote: "Rufus Sewell is very good; the writing is very self-regarding; showing Prince Andrew's bum is very unnecessary."

Read more: Emily Maitlis breaks silence on rival Netflix movie Scoop

Sewell has said that he wore a prosthetic bum for the film.

The Newsnight interview in 2019 was a disaster for Andrew, who had seen it as a chance to put the record straight and repair his image.

Andrew has always denied wrongdoing and eventually reached an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre, who says she was a victim of sex trafficking by Epstein, while admitting no guilt.

Giuffre said she was made to have sex with friends and clients of billionaire Epstein, who was found dead in a New York jail cell in August 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.

FILE - Britain's Prince Andrew speaks during a television interview at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Royal Lodge, Windsor, April 11, 2021. Prince Andrew will be the subject of a satirical TV musical in the latest season of shows from U.K. broadcaster Channel 4. His infamous BBC Newsnight interview in 2019 about his ties with the late sex-offender Jeffry Epstein will be “reimagined” as part of the program. (Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Andrew's painful interview with Emily Maitlis has been adapted into a Netflix movie. (Alamy)

Four years after the interview, the cringe-worthy sit-down has just been depicted in a feature-length film, featuring Gillian Anderson, Keeley Hawes and Billie Piper.

Here, Yahoo News takes a look at some of the biggest revelations of the notorious interview, and what happened next.

What happened in the Prince Andrew interview?

As the Duke of York faced increasing scrutiny over his ties to Epstein, including claims that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl allegedly trafficked into the financier's sex ring, Andrew sought to defend himself.

However, his interview with Emily Maitlis, which aired on BBC Newsnight on 16 November 2019, didn't exactly go to plan. It made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, caused even more embarrassment for the palace, and eventually led to Andrew stepping down from official royal duties.

The duke's insistence that he wanted to break off his friendship with convicted sex offender Epstein, following the financier release from prison in 2010 was questioned by Maitlis, who asked why he had to stay at the tycoon's New York mansion for several days to do so.

Other clangers included Andrew's claim that he had a tendency to be "too honourable" and that he doesn't regret his friendship with Epstein because the "opportunities" he gained from it were "actually very useful".

RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2024. TITLE: Scoop. STUDIO: Voltage TV. DIRECTOR: Philip Martin. PLOT: How the BBC obtained the bombshell interview with Prince Andrew about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. STARRING: GILLIAN ANDERSON as Emily Maitlis, RUFUS SEWELL as Prince Andrew. (Credit Image: © Voltage TV/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis and Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew in Scoop. (Alamy)

Andrew's tone-deaf responses resulted in a PR nightmare, with many commentators saying he offered a distinct lack of empathy towards Epstein's victims.

The duke's PR adviser, Jason Stein, who was hired to lead a "fightback" for the royal, reportedly quit two weeks before the interview aired following a row with senior aide Amanda Thirsk over whether it should go ahead.

Far from helping Andrew salvage his reputation, a source close to the palace told the Times that the interview would “go down as one of the single worst PR moves in recent history". He eventually stepped down from official duties and was stripped of his royal patronages by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Countless headlines ridiculed the duke over his many eyebrow-raising statements in the interview, the highlights of which we've included here.

Read more: Critics label Scoop 'self-admiring' but celebrate Piper and Sewell (Yahoo News)

'It can't have been me in club... I'm unable to sweat'

Virginia Giuffre alleged that she went to Tramp nightclub in Mayfair with the Duke of York and was later made to have sex with him in the London townhouse of Epstein's partner Ghislaine Maxwell.

Her recollection of that night in March 2001 was that Andrew was sweating profusely on the dancefloor, but when asked about it by Maitlis, he had this to say: "There's a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don't sweat or I didn't sweat at the time.

"I didn't sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland's War when I was shot at and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.

"And it's only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again. So I'm afraid to say that there's a medical condition that says that I didn't do it."

'I was in a Pizza Express, not the club'

When asked if he remembered dancing at Tramp, Andrew responded with an alibi involving his daughter, Princess Beatrice.

"No, that couldn't have happened because the date that's being suggested I was at home with the children," he told Maitlis.

The now-infamous Pizza Express restaurant in Woking in Surrey, southwest of London. (AFP/Getty)
The now-infamous Pizza Express restaurant in Woking in Surrey, southwest of London. (AFP/Getty)

"On that particular day that we now understand is the date which is the 10th of March, I was at home, I was with the children and I'd taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of four or five in the afternoon.

"And then because the duchess was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there. I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so therefore I was at home."

Watch: Rufus Sewell on why he was 'reluctant' at first to play Prince Andrew on screen

When asked by Maitlis why he would remember this trip from so long ago in so much detail, he said: "Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.

"I've never been… I've only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly. As soon as somebody reminded me of it, I went, 'Oh yes, I remember that', but I have no recollection of ever meeting or being in the company or the presence."

Staying with Jeffrey Epstein was 'a convenient place to stay'

Naturally, Maitlis asked Andrew why in 2010 he decided to stay at Epstein's New York home for several days, just for the sake of breaking off their friendship.

"It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I've gone through this in my mind so many times," the duke responded.

"At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that's just the way it is."

Maitlis said several witnesses recalled many young girls "coming and going" at the time, to which Andrew replied: "I mean if there were then I wasn't a party to any of that. I never saw them.

"I mean you have to understand that his house, I described it more as almost as a railway station if you know what I mean in the sense that there were people coming in and out of that house all the time."

Had 'no recollection of ever meeting' Virginia Giuffre

When asked about Giuffre's recollection of a sweaty Andrew dancing with her in central London, the duke told Maitlis: "I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."

Pressed on claims they then went back to Maxwell's home in Belgravia and had sex, the duke replied: "It didn't happen.

"I've no recollection of ever meeting her, I'm almost, in fact I'm convinced that I was never in Tramps with her. There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don't know where the bar is in Tramps. I don't drink, I don't think I've ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there."

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, with a photo of herself as a teen, when she says she was abused by Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew, among others. (Emily Michot/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, with a photo of herself as a teen. (Getty Images)

Andrew 'doesn't regret' friendship with Epstein

"You've talked about a thick skin, I wonder if you have any sense now of guilt, regret or shame about any of your behaviour and your friendship with Epstein?", Maitlis put to the duke.

"As far as Mr Epstein was concerned, it was the wrong decision to go and see him in 2010. As far as my association with him was concerned, it had some seriously beneficial outcomes in areas that have nothing and have nothing to do with what I would describe as what we're talking about today."

Epstein's behaviour was 'unbecoming'

Andrew attracted criticism for saying that his friend Epstein, at this point a convicted sex offender, had been "unbecoming".

"On balance, could I have avoided ever meeting him? Probably not and that's because of my friendship with Ghislaine, it was inevitable that we would have come across each other," he told Maitlis.

"Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes."

Maitlis replied, "Unbecoming? He was a sex offender," to which the duke responded: "Yeah, I'm sorry, I'm being polite, I mean in the sense that he was a sex offender.

"But no, was I right in having him as a friend? At the time, bearing in mind this was some years before he was accused of being a sex offender. I don't there was anything wrong then, the problem was the fact that once he had been convicted… I stayed with him.

"That's the bit that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that."

Photo of me with Virginia Giuffre could be fake, duke suggests

It's the photo that refuses to go away – a photo of Andrew with his hand around Giuffre's waist with Maxwell standing beside them – supposedly at her Belgravia townhouse.

When asked about suggestions by his friend that the notorious picture had been faked in some way, the duke had this to say: "I think it's… from the investigations that we've done, you can't prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph. So it's very difficult to be able to prove it but I don't remember that photograph ever being taken.

"That's me but whether that's my hand or whether that's the position I… but I don't… I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken."

It's a notorious image that keeps on following the Duke of York. (Getty Images)
It's a notorious image that keeps on following the Duke of York. (Getty Images)

When Maitlis said it was understood the picture had been taken by Epstein in the central London home, Andrew replied: "Well here's the problem, I've never seen Epstein with a camera in my life."

"Listen, I don't remember, I don't remember that photograph ever being taken. I don't remember going upstairs in the house because that photograph was taken upstairs and I am not entirely convinced that… I mean that is… that is what I would describe as me in that… in that picture but I can't… we can't be certain as to whether or not that's my hand on her whatever it is, left… left side."

He added: "Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don't recollect that photograph ever being taken.

Andrew denies 'foot massage by Russian woman at Epstein's mansion'

Maitlis put to Andrew an account by literary agent John Brockman, a guest at Epstein's New York mansion, that he saw the duke there "receiving a foot massage from a young Russian woman".

The duke was very clear that it wasn't him, adding: "I wouldn't… I wouldn't… I don't know Mr Brockman so I don't know what he's talking about."

'If you're a man, it is a positive act to have sex', duke says

When Maitlis asked Andrew if there was any way he could have had sex with Giuffre or any other young women trafficked by Epstein, the royal had a puzzling response.

"No and without putting too fine a point on it, if you're a man it is a positive act to have sex with somebody," he said.

"You have to have to take some sort of positive action and so therefore if you try to forget it's very difficult to try and forget a positive action and I do not remember anything.

"I can't, I've wracked my brain and thinking oh… when the first allegations, when the allegations came out originally I went well that's a bit strange, I don't remember this and then I've been through it and through it and through it over and over and over again and no, nothing. It just never happened.

The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York attend a thanksgiving service for the life of King Constantine of the Hellenes at St George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Tuesday February 27, 2024.
The Duke of York and ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York attend a thanksgiving service at St George's Chapel, Windsor, in February. (PA)

What happened to Prince Andrew after the Newsnight interview?

The interview did not go well for Andrew, who faced a great deal of scrutiny in the following days.

People were quick to pick up on a lack of sympathy for Epstein's victims, and many were offended by his choice of words when describing the financier's behaviour as "unbecoming".

His claim about not being able to sweat was relentlessly mocked in the media, and plenty of people heavily scrutinised his accounts of what, when and where various events had happened.

On 20 November 2019, just four days after the interview, it was announced Prince Andrew would “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future”.

In a statement, the duke said he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required” over a US investigation into Epstein.

In January 2022, the Duke of York's military titles and royal patronages were returned to the Queen, Buckingham Palace said. He was also ordered by his mother not to use the title His Royal Highness in any official capacity.

It came as Andrew prepared to fight a civil lawsuit against Giuffre, after a New York judge rejected his attempt to have the case dismissed.

On 15 February 2022, both parties announced in a joint-statement that they had reached an out-of-court settlement for an undisclosed amount, with Andrew admitting no wrongdoing.

In a statement, the duke said he "intends to make a substantial contribution to Ms Giuffre's charity in support of victims' rights" and praised his former accuser's "bravery", adding that he never meant to "malign" her character.

Read more