In a move that shocked just about everyone, Prince Andrew got candid about his controversial friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and the sexual allegations made against him by Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) in a bombshell interview with the BBC. And, unfortunately for the royal, it appeared to make matters worse.
The Sunday Times called it “one of the single worst PR moves in recent history,” while other newspapers mocked his ridiculous answers for not having ever met his accuser. His excuses were downright bizarre, and, in some cases, painted him as a victim of circumstance.
When speaking about Giuffre in the televised interview, Epstein denied knowing her all together, saying: “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever. It just never happened."
As for her claim that Andrew danced with her at Tramp nightclub in London, before they proceeded to have sex later in the night, the prince says it's not possible because he was at a pizza party. “No, that couldn’t have happened because the date that’s being suggested I was at home with the children," he said.
He continued: “I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of four or five in the afternoon. And then because the duchess was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there. I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so, therefore, I was at home.”
Doubling down on his denial, Andrew claimed that he also couldn't have danced and "sweated profusely" on the dance floor, as Giuffre claims in court papers, because he had a medical condition, in which he couldn't perspire.
“I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at.”— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) November 16, 2019
Prince Andrew disputes claims he had a sweaty dance with a woman who made allegations against him https://t.co/gfKvOEFG9p #Newsnight pic.twitter.com/7ZKscPB5lX
“I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply…it was almost impossible for me to sweat,” Andrew said. “It’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again.”
After being presented with the infamous photo of Andrew putting his arm around a 17-year-old Giuffre's waist, the royal insisted the image was altered. “I have absolutely no memory of that photograph ever being taken,” he told the interviewer.
“It’s a photograph of a photograph of a photograph,” he said. “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored. “I’m terribly sorry, but if I, as a member of the royal family, and I have a photograph taken — and I take very, very few photographs — I am not one to, um, as it were, hug."
“Public displays of affection are not something that, that I do," he explained. "So, that’s the best explanation I can give you.”
Later on during the televised talk, Andrew revealed the toll the allegations have taken on him and his close family. “It has been, what I would describe as a constant sore in the family,” Andrew said, adding that the whole thing had become “almost a mental health issue that has been nagging at me.”
However, despite everything, Andrew doesn't regret his friendship with Epstein. He explained: "For the reason being that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn, either by him or because of him, were actually very useful."