Thursday, 11 Aug 2022

Prince Andrew lured into Newsnight interview after producer taunted him about ‘Randy Andy’

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Sam McAlister, then a producer at the programme, has revealed the circumstances under which she persuaded the royal to be interviewed by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. It is widely considered this 2019 talk ended Prince Andrew’s royal role.

The producer wrote in the Mail she had been pursuing the interview “for months and was desperate to land it”.

After trying for some time, Ms McAlister decided it would be best to approach the Prince “very bluntly”.

She told the Duke of York: “Sir. I have lived in this country for over 40 years and, until now, I only knew two things about you.

“It’s that you’re known as ‘Air Miles Andy’ and ‘Randy Andy’.”

Ms McAlister said she added that “I can absolutely tell you that the latter really doesn’t help you in your current predicament”.

Others working at Newsnight were “genuinely shocked” by the producer’s approach, though the approach eventually worked.

Ms McAlister noted: “There was a long pause. Then Andrew laughed.”

In the interview, Ms Maitlis asked the Duke why he had decided to stay in the home of Jeffery Epstein, then a convicted sex offender.

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Prince Andrew responded: “It was a convenient place to stay.

“I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.

“But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgment was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.”

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The conversation was recorded at Buckingham Palace on November 14 and broadcasted two days later.

On November 20, the Palace released a statement to announce the Duke was suspending his public duties “for the foreseeable future”.

Since this time, Prince Andrew has formally ended a civil case brought against him in the US by accuser Virginia Giuffre by agreeing to pay a financial settlement.

He vehemently denies the claims made against him.

But many royal commentators maintain that he will never fully return to public life.

His minor appearances at events since the case’s settlement has drawn controversy, which some claim will not simply go away.

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