Prince Andrew is facing renewed criticism of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein after an ill-advised TV grilling raised more questions than answers.
BBC Newsnight secured an exclusive interview with the prince who hoped to take advantage of the ‘opportunity’ to set the record straight but has instead found himself the subject of ridicule, renewed legal threats and confusion.
During the unorthodox one-to-one with Emily Maitlis, Andrew ‘categorically’ denied accusations of having a sexual encounter with a woman known as Virginia Roberts when she was just 17 years old
The Times led with "Defiant duke stands by ‘car crash interview’ while The Sun, in typically ribald fashion, ridiculed the ‘car crash TV sex quiz" which Andrew reportedly told The Queen was a ‘great success’.
A more circumspect prince graced the front cover of The Daily Mail where the Duke of York reportedly expressed regret over the grilling, telling friends of his sympathy from for Epstein’s victims – empathy which was notably absent from the Newsnight interview where no mention of the victims was raised.
The interview didn’t satisfy The Guardian either which led with demands that Andrew apologises to Epstein’s victims now, while the i newspaper reports that the prince is now under renewed pressure to submit to a formal interview with FBI investigators.
The Metro meanwhile pulls no punches, demeaning the Duke by labelling his widely ridiculed Pizza Express alibi and sweat gland defence as ‘porkies’.
Among those critical of the prince’s performance was Dickie Arbiter, a former Buckingham Palace press officer, who expressed incredulity that Buckingham Palace had sanctioned such an interview. He told the BBC: “My guess is that he bulldozed his way in and decided he was going to do it himself without any advice.
"Any sensible-thinking person in the PR business would have thrown their hands up in horror at the very suggestion that he puts himself up in front of a television camera to explain away his actions and his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein."
An inquest is now likely to be held by the palace over their handling of the affair and what the future holds for the prince, who has in recent years served as a tech ambassador.