Makes me catch my breath Emily Maitlis shares fresh insight into Prince Andrew interview

Emily Maitlis 'compromising herself and BBC' says Luckhurst

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Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has shared a new insight into her 2019 Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace. The BBC broadcaster, 51, told how she still “catches her breath” upon re-listening to the “direct” questions she asked the Duke of York, explaining that she had “just one chance” to get the royal’s version of events following allegations of sexual assault from Virginia Giuffre.

We went into that interview knowing that we would have one chance to get it right

Emily Maitlis

Reflecting on her time interviewing Prince Andrew in 2019 in a new column for the BBC, Maitlis told how his account forms “a critical part of this landmark legal case”.

The long-time BBC newsreader claimed that she had been approached by the Duke to “clear his name” after being accused of sexual assault by Virginia Giuffre.

Explaining the Prince’s reasoning, Maitlis said: “He believed things had been said about him that he could disprove.”

The BBC journalist added that the Duke had his “defence ready”.

Maitlis explained that to Newsnight viewers, Prince Andrew’s answers seemed “astonishing”, but admitted that they had not shocked her.

“But bizarrely, I had been expecting them,” she wrote.

She went on to tell how she met the Duke ahead of the interview in Buckingham Palace, revealing that she was “treated to tea in dainty bone-china cups with the royal crest on them,” ahead of the landmark chat.

Maitlis went on: “It was there the duke shook my hand, sat down, and explained he was going to tell us why he believed the photograph of him and Ms Giuffre – showing Prince Andrew with his arm around her – was likely a doctored fake.”

However, she claimed that it was entirely possible for the Duke to have been at both Tramp nightclub in London and Pizza Express in Woking in one evening.

“Of course, a children’s birthday tea party and a late night in a club are not chronologically incompatible: it would have been more than possible to do both,” she wrote.

Despite the jaw-dropping reaction to the Prince’s interview in 2019, the BBC journalist maintained that she had not set out to “catch” the royal out.

She explained: “But the point of the interview was not to catch him out – I can’t stress this enough.”

“We went into that interview knowing that we would have one chance to get it right.

“One chance to provide a record of testimony, one chance to offer up a first-person account if the case ever went to court.

“One chance to let a senior royal face questions of the utmost seriousness and give us what he assured us were straight answers,” Maitlis recalled to the BBC.

US judge Lewis Kaplan has told how he will give his decision on whether Giuffre’s case against the Duke of York case will be thrown out “pretty soon”.

Virginia Giuffre, who has been vocal about her accusations against Prince Andrew, is suing the duke for alleged sexual assault when she was a teenager in a civil case in the USA.

The 2009 deal between the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and Ms Giuffre was unsealed by a judge in New York on Monday January 3, revealing she was paid $500,000 (£370,500) to settle all of her claims.

Ms Guiffre had accused him of sexually assaulting her on three occasions when she was under the age of 18.

She claims she was trafficked by disgraced financier Epstein to have sex with the Duke of York when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

Prince Andrew has denied all claims against him.

The documents detailed Ms Giuffre, then Roberts, had in 2009 agreed to “release, acquit, satisfy, and forever discharge” Epstein and “any other person or entity who could have been included as a potential defendant”.

The settlement relates to a Florida state case to which the duke was not a party.

She was paid $500,000 for her silence by Epstein.

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