BBC journalist Emily Maitlis posed some tough questions to Prince Andrew in her Newsnight interview after a sex trafficking scandal stunned the world. However, she now wonders why the royal, who was so adamant there was no fault on his part, made such a dramatic turnaround and chose not to defend his reputation in court in favor of a report of £12. million payment.
“I won’t lie – part of me is journalistically disappointed that we won’t see how this story unfolded,” Emily told the BBC following Andrew’s decision to reach a settlement at the amicable.
“It now means that the words he spoke in that Newsnight interview over two years ago may become the only testimony we have.”
She added that there would have been “tremendous satisfaction” in “an ending – any ending”, although she was left with only a question mark.
“At the heart of the settlement is the biggest question of all: why is a prince who told me he has ‘no memory of ever meeting this lady’ paying her now what we understand be over £10m?
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“I vividly remember directing Virginia Giuffre’s accusations directly to her: ‘She says she met you in 2001, she had dinner with you, danced with you, you bought her drinks at Tramp nightclub and then she slept with you in a house in Belgravia.’
“And I have the prince’s response in front of me now. Just three words: ‘That didn’t happen.’
She reflected: “Either he was lying in that response – and remembered her well.
“Or he really had no recollection – and was adamant they hadn’t met – only for his memory to be jogged afterwards.
“Or [it’s] that he maintains his innocence, but that he feels that the weight of judicial and public opinion against him now makes the settlement easier, although he accepts no responsibility.”
It has been claimed that Andrew decided to stand down from a trial only to save his family from embarrassment and to avoid overshadowing Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations by his actions which inevitably filled newspapers with court coverage .
Additionally, claims by a woman claiming to be one of Andrew’s former masseuses also filled the columns with American gossip, increasing the coverage around the case.
Andrew still hasn’t suggested any wrongdoing on his part, but said the money is an acknowledgment that Virginia has suffered public abuse and attack, and is being paid as a way to “show regret.” for his association with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a convict. pedophile, died in prison.
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The public statement provided by his lawyers included the words: “Prince Andrew never intended to slander Ms Giuffre’s character and he accepts that she suffered both as an established victim of abuse and following unjust public attacks.”
Emily remarked: “See how cautiously [the statement] is to put distance between an acknowledgment of Giuffre’s pain – and any responsibility he may or may not have had for it. “When he calls her ‘an established victim of abuse’ is he perhaps inferring that his own horrific circumstances were established long before their paths crossed? He still doesn’t acknowledge, to be fair , that they met.”
The Duke of York also said he would make a substantial donation to the Virginia charity for victims of sexual abuse, to ‘demonstrate his regret for his association with Epstein by supporting the fight against the harms of trafficking sexual”.
Yet in the Newsnight interview, Andrew was adamant he had no regrets about his friendship with Epstein, saying it had given him an “opportunity to learn”.
He had also claimed that staying at Epstein’s Manhattan home after his conviction for child sex abuse was, despite the public condemnation, still “the honorable thing and the right thing to do”.
A confused Emily Maitlis concluded that her current stance and decision to drop the case ‘contradicted’ the answers he gave her that evening during her interview.