Flop of the Month: Prince Andrew's reputation in tatters after Newsnight interview disaster

Recent weeks have seen some truly awful media interviews.

Will Prince Andrew's reputation ever recover? (©GettyImages)
Will Prince Andrew's reputation ever recover? (©GettyImages)

Not least were those involving UK politicians: Jacob Rees-Mogg blaming Grenfell victims for 'lack of common sense'; Nicky Morgan being taken to task for a 'new' nurses pledge; and, yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn failing to apologise for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Prince Andrew's former PR man joins Finsbury after 'amicable split'

But if the above are the figurative 'car crashes', Prince Andrew's Newsnight interview with Emily Maitlis is a 40-vehicle motorway pileup.

It has rightly been labelled one of the worst PR disasters of all time.

The one-hour episode saw the Duke of York forensically grilled about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, why he continued the friendship after the late financier served time for sex offences, and allegations he had sex with teenager Virginia Giuffre (then Virginia Roberts) – a claim he has always denied.

Parts of the interview were bizarre, such as Andrew's suggestion he didn’t meet Giuffre because he was at Pizza Express in Woking, and that he couldn’t sweat due to a condition picked up in the Falklands War.

But what stood out most was the apparent lack of remorse or sympathy towards the victims of the alleged sex offences.

The fallout has been swift amid a huge media backlash that still continues, days after the broadcast on 16 November. The prince was stripped of royal duties and forced to stand down from all his patronages, including scores of charities.

Lynne Franks: 'It's time the Royal Family put Prince Andrew out to pasture'

The interview should never have happened; indeed, his former PR adviser Jason Stein urged against it. The Duke of York should be answering questions to US authorities first, while maintaining a low media profile before even considering trying to clear his reputation via the press.

In ignoring such advice, Andrew was always destined to face a difficult time. But the prince's conduct in the interview meant he totally failed to generate any sympathy for his position; quite the opposite.

His reputation will probably never recover.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in