Prince Andrew is looking back at his notorious November 2019 television interview as a “source of regret.”
In the interview, conducted by “Newsnight” presenter Emily Maitlis, the Duke of York denied the allegations of Virginia Giuffre that he had sex with her on several occasions when she was underage, through his association with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
According to a report in The Sunday Times, a source close to the duke said. “I don’t think he regrets the intention behind the interview, which was to clear the air for his family, the royal family and the institution. But the fact he was unable to appropriately or sufficiently convey his sympathy for the victims of Epstein, is of course a source of regret.”
According to the Times, Andrew initially told the queen that the interview was “a great success,” but ultimately conceded that he made a mistake in not apologizing to victims of the convicted pedophile, who died in jail in August 2019 in what authorities ruled a suicide.
Meanwhile, the source also revealed that Prince Andrew has no intention of cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Epstein unless American authorities offer him “an olive branch,” insisting that investigators must first “rebuild trust”
Last week, the prince’s legal team issued a statement accusing the Department of Justice of “breaching their own confidentiality rules” and that Andrew had “offered his assistance as a witness to the DoJ” at least three times this year.
Lead federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, however, responded by calling that an outright lie. “Prince Andrew yet again sought to falsely portray himself to the public as eager and willing to cooperate… the prince has not given an interview to federal authorities, has repeatedly declined our request to schedule such an interview, and… informed us unequivocally… that he would not come in for such an interview.”
“The duke is not going any further in the cooperation process until the DoJ begin to behave honourably… unless they have given him some signal acknowledging there has been a significant breach of trust, and offering some kind of olive branch to rebuild trust,” a source told the Times.
“I don’t think there’s a legal team on the planet that would encourage any client to cooperate with a judicial authority that has been demonstrably leaking confidential information,” the source added. “The ball is now firmly in the DoJ’s court.”
However, the source noted that the prince’s legal team still hasn’t settled on a strategy to address the controversy.
“Andrew’s team have to find an appropriate way for him to share his experiences and just get it done, rather than pick fights with the feds. Even if down the line, all the criminal and civil cases are over and Andrew is completely exonerated, the stain will always be there, with the suspicion he was party to what went on. Those photos [with Epstein and Giuffre] will always exist,” the source added.
While the Queen is said to be “resigned” to Andrew stepping away from a public role, the duke remains hopeful for a return. “It is still his intention to resume a public role,” said the source. “He knows he has to resolve the noise around the matter. The duke sees the situation now as a working sabbatical from his duties. He’s very conscious of the impact it’s had on the reputation of the royal family, his own family and the country.”
Meanwhile, a source told the Times that Buckingham Palace officials were “furious” with Andrew’s handling of the DoJ request, because it “overshadowed the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday [on Wednesday] which was supposed to be a positive moment for the monarchy.”
The source added: “The idea that the Queen will simply indulge Prince Andrew… is wide of the mark. Her patience has been wearing thin for a long time. She had resisted this slimming down of the monarchy but it’s fair to say she is not now standing in the way of that in her lifetime.”