The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Duke of York under fire
Interview: Prince Andrew accused of lacking empathy with abuse victims
The Duke of York is facing a barrage of criticism following his television interview about the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, with the royal accused of a lack of empathy with the victims.
His attempt to set the record straight about his relationship with the convicted sex offender has been widely condemned for its unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse.
Commentators are questioning the prince’s decision to speak out about the allegations and his friendship with Epstein, with one calling it an “appalling lack of judgment”.
A legal expert said being a member of the monarchy did not give the duke a get-out clause from being prosecuted in the US, and he was “unwise” to have given a detailed account of his actions to the media.
During the interview,
Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some “seriously beneficial outcomes”.
He denied he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three
“Andrew could find himself out of the core royal family”
occasions, twice while she was underage, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day taking his daughter, Beatrice, to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
He cast doubt on the authenticity of a picture that appears to show him with his arm around the waist of Mrs Giuffre, when a teenager, saying “from the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph.”
He expressed regret at making contact with Epstein in 2010 after the 66-year-old had been released from an 18-month prison term for prostituting minors.
But Maitlis highlighted how he spent a number of days with him at his home, and how he was guest of honour at a dinner party she said celebrated Epstein’s release.
Ingrid Seward, editor-inchief of Majesty magazine, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme that in the wake of the interview, Andrew could find himself out of the core royal family, if reports are correct that the monarchy will be slimmed down when the Prince of Wales becomes king.
Ms Seward added: “I think if there’s a slimmeddown monarchy I very much feel Andrew won’t be a huge part in it.”