In an interview airing on the BBC Saturday night, Prince Andrew says he made a mistake by continuing to hang out with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but blamed his continued friendship on his “honor.”
“The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted I stayed with him,” the Duke of York told the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. “That’s the bit 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.”
When Maitlis asked Andrew why he would stay at Epstein’s house after charges that he had sex with underage girls, the Duke said, “It was a convenient place to stay.”
“There is … I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times,” Andrew said. “At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one could have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably colored by my tendency to be too honorable, but that’s just the way it is.”
The Daily Mail published the full video of Andrew’s interview. He also rejected the allegations made against him by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts, who said the Duke had sex with her when she was just 17. Andrew said he had “no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.” There is a photo of the prince and Roberts “with his arm around the teenager’s bare waist alongside Epstein’s alleged ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell,” the Mail reported.
Still, celebrities take photos with people all the time whom they may not remember.
Roberts claimed that she met Andrew in 2001, had dinner with him and danced with him at a nightclub in London. She claimed she had sex with him in Maxwell’s house.
The Mail reported that interviews such as this one with the royal family are extremely rare. The last time a family member spoke about a personal matter was in the 90s, when both Princess Diana and Prince Charles spoke of their divorce.
The Guardian reported that top media lawyer Mark Stephens (who previously represented James Hewitt when he was alleged to have had an affair with Diana), said Andrew’s interview was a “catastrophic error.”
“This strategy only works if you’ve got a complete and full answer to every possible question, and here there are too many loose ends,” Stephens told the outlet. “If he’d kept his silence he’d have been able to remain outside of the case, as he’s a witness and is entitled to diplomatic immunity. He was a private individual and now he’s waived that privacy.”
As the Mail reported, the last time a royal family member spoke to the media about a personal issue (Charles and Diana), it also was viewed as a disaster for the monarchy.