The late Queen Elizabeth II realised her second son’s interview with Newsnight was a disaster before he did, a new documentary claims.
The Queen was handed a transcript of the Duke of York’s appearance on the BBC’s flagship news programme, in which he was questioned about his association with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, TV presenter Emily Maitlis revealed.
Shortly afterwards, the Duke – who was said to be ‘euphoric’ after his interview – was apparently tapped on the shoulder by his security detail and ushered away.
Andrew came under intense scrutiny following his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview in 2019 over allegations that Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre was trafficked to have sex with the royal when she was 17.
In a new two-part Channel 4 documentary, Andrew – The Problem Prince, former BBC journalist Ms Maitlis said the negative implications of the interview ‘dawned’ on the Queen ‘before they dawned on him’.
The late Queen Elizabeth II realised her second son’s interview with Newsnight was a mistake before he did, a new documentary claims.
Newsnight producer Sam McAlister claimed Prince Andrew (right) was ‘euphoric’ after his interview with Emily Maitlis (left) because ‘he thought it had gone really well’.
Ms Giuffre’s lawyer, Sigrid McCawley, told the documentary that the Newsnight interview gave her client the ‘roadmap to tear him apart’ in the civil claim.
Despite the BBC interview eventually leading to Andrew being stripped of his patronages and military affiliations, former Newsnight producer Sam McAlister claimed the royal was ‘euphoric’ afterwards because ‘he thought it had gone really well’.
One of Prince Andrew’s friends, Irish defamation lawyer Paul Tweed, told the documentary he tried to talk the duke out of giving the interview, The Telegraph reports.
Maitlis revealed she was ‘shocked’ by some of the duke’s responses and described it as ‘a tidal wave of bad answers’.
She said: ‘This is how I know that Prince Andrew is happy with the interview because he stayed chatting. He seemed very jolly.
‘A whole load of people came in and I said, “What’s going on?” They said, “OK, Thursday evenings we have the cinema night at the palace. You can stay if you want.” And at that point, I just though, “I’ve got to get away from here. I needed the space to work out what just happened.”
Maitlis went on to reveal how the Queen appeared to realise the gravity of the situation before the duke.
She said: ‘It was only on the Saturday when the Queen had reportedly read the whole transcript that he had received a tap on the shoulder by his security detail.
‘And they had said, “I think, sir, you might have to come with us.” It was after the Queen had seen what the interview contained that I think it dawned on her, before it dawned on him.’
Prince Andrew, Virginia Giuffre, and Ghislaine Maxwell posing in a picture taken in Maxwell’s mews house
Following the BBC broadcast in November 2019 and the furore over Andrew’s friendship with Epstein, the duke stepped down from public life.
Last year, he reached an out-of-court settlement with Ms Giuffre reportedly worth up to 12 million US dollars (£9.6 million) following her civil sex claim against him in the US.
He continues to deny any wrongdoing.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in Manhattan in August 2019 while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide.
During the original Newsnight broadcast around four years ago, the duke denied he had had sex with Ms Giuffre, said he had no recollection of ever meeting her and that he had spent the day in question at Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, at a party with one of his daughters.
Ms Giuffre said Andrew sweated heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp in one alleged encounter.
The duke told Maitlis his Falklands War service had caused a medical condition, at the time, which meant he did not sweat.
The infamous interview is also being adapted by Netflix, with Sex Education star Gillian Anderson playing Ms Maitlis and The Man In The High Castle actor Rufus Sewell as Andrew.
Ms McAlister revealed to the Channel 4 documentary that the duke had taken his daughter, Princess Beatrice, with him to the final negotiations with the BBC over what should be included in the interview.
Melania Trump, Prince Andrew, Gwendolyn Beck and Jeffrey Epstein at a party at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, in 2000
The Duke of York sought permission from the Queen to be questioned about his association with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, TV presenter Emily Maitlis has claimed
In a new two-part Channel 4 documentary, Andrew – The Problem Prince, former BBC journalist Emily Maitlis (pictured) said the negative implications of the interview ‘dawned’ on the Queen ‘before they dawned on him’
‘Can you imagine being in Buckingham Palace, about to talk to a member of the royal family about sexual offences? That’s pretty tricky – and now I’ve got to do it in front of his daughter,’ the producer said.
During the negotiations, Ms McAlister and Ms Maitlis said Andrew had asked ‘Should I tell you why I can’t sweat?’ as he sought to explain why Ms Giuffre’s allegations against him were false.
‘I remember thinking ‘Wow, you know, if he says that, that’s it…” Ms Maitlis told the documentary.
Before going ahead with the interview, the presenter said Andrew had told her he had to ‘seek approval from higher up’.
She said: ‘Of course, he’s talking about the Queen.
‘You’re asking your mum if it’s a good idea. This is a decision that’s going right to the top.’
During the documentary, the former BBC journalist said Newsnight had turned down an interview with Andrew three times due to his team attempting to place editorial restrictions on them.
‘Epstein was a red line and we were not to ask about him if we did the interview,’ Ms McAlister said of one of her initial negotiations with the duke’s chief of staff.
Commenting on Newsnight’s earlier decision not to go ahead with an interview after the Epstein restrictions were imposed, Ms Maitlis said: ‘Thank God we dropped the whole thing.
The Duke of York , speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis
Princess Beatrice with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
‘Because how stupid would we have looked to have done that whole interview knowing that we couldn’t ask about Epstein only to find that he was suddenly front-page news?’
The Duke of York brought his eldest daughter to behind the scenes negotiations with the BBC team behind the interview, journalist Miss Maitlis and producer Sam McAlister.
Miss Maitlis said she thought at the time that he might have agreed to speak in an attempt to make amends with his daughter, who had recently got engaged to her now-husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
She told the Channel 4 documentary: ‘It’s the first time the thought crossed my mind that maybe he was doing it for her.
‘Your life has been hellish. You’ve had to read these headlines. You’re trying to get married. I’m going to do this to make it better for you. I don’t know if that’s true, but it crossed my mind.’
The Duke and Duchess of York with their daughter Beatrice and Eugenie
Producer Miss McAlister said the duke had announced he had brought someone with him to the negotiations, and said she had thought he meant a lawyer.
She told the documentary: ‘Instead around the corner comes his daughter, Princess Beatrice. That was really quite a curve ball of curve balls.
‘Can you imagine being in Buckingham Palace about to talk to a member of the Royal Family about sexual offences? That’s pretty tricky. And now I’ve got to do it in front of his daughter.’
Miss McAlister has previously described how Beatrice took notes on a clipboard at the meeting and appeared ‘anxious’.
The Princess is set to appear in the new Netflix drama which details the runup to the Newsnight interview given by the Duke of York, The Telegraph reports.
Actress Charity Wakefield will star as Beatrice in Scoop, which stars Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Billie Piper as BBC produce Sam mcAllister.
The film follows the book by Sam McAlister, who managed to scoop the bombshell interview about Prince Andrew’s with Jeffrey Epstein, widely believed to have backfired.