Prince Andrew: fresh questions raised by his TV interview

Appearance could increase scrutiny over his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

Britain’s Prince Andrew speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis. Photograph: PA

Britain’s Prince Andrew speaking for the first time about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis. Photograph: PA

 

Britain’s prince Andrew’s interview with BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis aired on Saturday night in which he discussed his links with Jeffrey Epstein, his friend and convicted sex offender.

But the appearance raises fresh questions and could increase scrutiny over his ties to the convicted paedophile

Why did Prince Andrew stay at Jeffrey Epstein’s home and attend a dinner on his trip to "break up" with the convicted paedophile?
In the Newsnight interview, the prince spoke for the first time about a stay at Epstein’s Manhattan home five months after the convicted paedophile left prison, a trip that included a party where the prince was “guest of honour”.

But while he told Maitlis the party “wasn’t quite as you put it” and described Epstein’s house as “a convenient place to stay”, some observers have asked why the prince could not have stayed elsewhere, why his stay lasted four days, and why he would attend such a dinner under any circumstances if he was bringing the relationship to an end.

Others have also asked why, after stopping contact with Epstein in 2006 when he heard the financier was being investigated, the prince chose to re-establish contact in 2010 simply in order to say the relationship was over.

What do the prince’s claims, and the ongoing legal action in the US, mean for the FBI investigation and the potential involvement of UK authorities?
As the FBI widens the scope of its investigation in an attempt to identify more of Epstein’s victims, the prince’s comments might attract even more attention to him.

Alan Dershowitz, who defended Epstein on charges of sex trafficking, has said the prince would have no choice but to submit to questioning by US authorities should they decide to lodge a request.

Scotland Yard has reportedly been briefed on the latest developments in the US, while Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection, has previously said it would be in the public interest for an investigation to take place after the Metropolitan police dropped an inquiry.

Under what circumstances might he discuss the claims against him under oath?
The prince said at the weekend he was prepared to testify under oath “if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so”.

Gloria Allred, the US lawyer acting for Epstein’s victims, has called for the prince to answer questions under oath. She said: “He could just decide to appear and I think that would be the best action that he could take.”

How credible is the prince’s claim that a condition caused by his Falklands War service left him unable to perspire?
He was attempting to undermine Virginia Roberts’s recollection that he was “dripping with sweat” after dancing with him in 2001 before the then-17-year-old allegedly had sex with him.

But no sooner had the prince made the claim than a picture began circulating on social media showing him outside the nightclub Chinawhite in 2000, which some observers claimed appeared to show him sweating.

Despite the prince’s insistence that he always wears a suit and tie when going out in London, he is tieless and suitless in the photo.

Anhidrosis is the inability to sweat normally. Causes include burns from radiation therapy, certain drugs, diabetes, alcoholism and hereditary issues.

Why did he ignore a spin doctor’s advice not to do the interview?
It is not known why the prince believed the interview was a good idea and how it came to happen. Maitlis has said it went ahead after the queen signed it off.

Of potentially more significance is the departure of the prince’s PR adviser, Jason Stein, who is understood to have left his post two weeks ago after telling the duke not to do the interview.

With the prince now having invited potentially more scrutiny, as well as arguably having caused himself greater reputational damage, who will steady the ship at Buckingham Palace?

How will he proceed with his ‘Pitch@Palace’ scheme from here?
The prince has continued to travel the world, and attended a summit of southeast Asian leaders in Thailand this month as part of Pitch@Palace, the startup mentorship scheme he established and which hosts pitches by would-be entrepreneurs at Buckingham Palace.

But the pressure on him could affect the way in which the scheme is viewed in the UK and elsewhere, not least by businesspeople, other agencies and businesses associated with it.

Partners listed on its website include Air Asia, Aon, Bosch, Standard Chartered, AstraZeneca, the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, Bank of China, Barclays and KPMG. – Guardian

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