Prince Andrew's disastrous BBC interview about Jeffrey Epstein friendship earns BAFTA nomination
Prince Andrew is in the spotlight once more.
The BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) TV Awards nominees were announced on Thursday, with the 60-year-old’s BBC “Newsnight” interview conducted by Emily Maitlis up for Best News Coverage, People magazine reported on Friday.
Andrew’s nephew, Prince William, has been president of BAFTA since February 2010, following a long tradition of a member of the royal family in the role, the outlet noted. While the 37-year-old and his wife Kate Middleton often attend the BAFTA Film Awards, which is the British equivalent of the Oscars, he has never attended the TV Awards.
Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge attend the EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on 02 February 2020 in London, England. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The 2020 presentations are slated for July 31, and it is unlikely that William, who is second in line to the throne, will attend.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support,” the statement posted to the royal family’s Twitter account read in part.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.”
Britain's Prince Andrew the Duke of York. (Photo by AP/Sang Tan)
The statement concludes: "I continued to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
The sit-down is still recognized as a total public relations disaster for the Duke of York.
Many in the media were quick to deride the prince for not only defending his friendship with Epstein but for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex offender’s victims.
Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, has said Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001 when she was 17. She says Epstein flew her around the world on private planes to have sex with powerful men, and that she had sexual encounters with Andrew in London, New York and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Photo from 2001 that was included in court files released last week shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (Florida Southern District Court) (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)
"It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," the Duke of York said in his interview.
Giuffre had challenged the British royal to speak out, telling reporters in New York “he knows exactly what he’s done.”
“And the answer is nothing,” Andrew told the BBC.
Andrew admitted: "I kick myself ... on a daily basis” for being friends with and staying with Epstein on multiple occasions
“I stayed with him and that’s [something] I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that,” the second son of Queen Elizabeth said.
Royal Ascot Race Meeting Thursday - Ladies Day. Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right) At Ascot. With them are Edward (far left) and Caroline Stanley (in pink), the Earl and Countess of Derby. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Elsewhere in the interview, Prince Andrew admitted that he did not regret his friendship with Epstein because of the people he met and all the things he learned, another statement for which he was chastised by the media.
Epstein, 66, died in jail on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges that prosecutors alleged involved many girls over several years in the early 2000s.
Andrew’s decision to grant an interview that went into forensic detail about his well-documented ties to a sex offender was a high-stakes gamble in a country where royals traditionally don’t submit to such questioning. When royals speak at all, they usually offer carefully considered comments about charitable works.
Fox News' Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.