- Sources close to Prince Andrew said he thought his high-stakes interview with the BBC over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein went well, according to British media.
- Anonymous quotes from allies of the prince in The Sun and Daily Mail said he told his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, it was a “great success” and would put to rest criticism of him.
- That assessment is starkly at odds with most reaction to the interview, which was widely described as a car-crash, and has instead intensified attacks on Andrew.
- The most salient criticism is that he did not express sympathy for the victims of Epstein’s sex-trafficking.
- Many also found implausible his alibi of not having had sex with Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre because he was otherwise occupied at a Pizza Express in suburban England.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Prince Andrew told his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, that his car-crash interview with the BBC was “mission accomplished” and “will end criticism of him,” according to reports in British media.
A source close to the Prince referred told The Sun newspaper that he referred to the interview, on his friendship with the dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, as “a great success” in a conversation at church on Sunday.
“He thinks he’s done the right thing and has put the criticism to rest. He was all smiles and looking her buoyant and happy,” said the source.
Meanwhile the Daily Mail reported that Andrew saw the interview as “mission accomplished” and hoped that it would draw a line under criticism of his years-long friendship with Epstein, which continued even after the latter’s conviction on for sex offenses.
You can watch the interview, with BBC presenter Emily Maitlis, here:
The optimistic picture painted by Andrew-friendly sources is starkly at odds with how the interview is playing out in the wider world, where it was almost universally acclaimed as a disaster for the prince.
The interview received widespread criticism over Prince Andrew’s lack of sympathy with Epstein’s victims and his defense of his friendship with the convicted sex offender.
He noted that the association brought him “opportunities,” and said his slowness in ditching Epstein as a friend was because of his tendency to be “too honorable.”
During the interview, Andrew said he had “no recollection” of meeting Virginia Roberts Guiffre, a victim of Epstein’s sex trafficking who alleged she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions when she was 17.
Giuffre said Epstein kept her as a “sex slave” and has given a detailed account of meeting Prince Andrew in London on the 10th March 2001, when she alleges she danced with the prince at the Tramp nightclub in London. She says she was later coerced into having sex with him.
Prince Andrew said the allegations were untrue. He gave as an alibi that he sharply recalled being at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, an English town not far from London, with his daughter on that evening.
“On that particular day, that we now understand is the 10th March, I was at home. I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party.”
When Maitlis questioned him over why he remembers that night so specifically the Prince said “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do.”
The initially upbeat assessment from Andrew did not appear to last long.
On Monday, the front-page story of the Daily Mail cited allies of the prince conveying his “regret” that he did not make his sympathy for Epstein’s victims more clear.
—Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) November 17, 2019