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Newsnight's Emily Maitlis tells of shock at Prince Andrew interview backlash

Prince Andrew and BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis
Prince Andrew and BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis
Prince Andrew and Prince Charles at Sandringham

By Julia Hunt

Newsnight's Emily Maitlis has said she did not expect her interview with the Duke of York to have the repercussions it had.

The journalist interviewed Andrew about the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal last month.

The duke's attempt to set the record straight on his relationship with the convicted sex offender - and allegations he slept with one of Epstein's groomed teenagers - was widely condemned for his unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse about the friendship.

Andrew stepped down from public duties for the foreseeable future after the backlash.

Maitlis told Radio Times magazine: "I didn't see it coming.

"It wasn't an attempt to bring down the royals, just a chance to understand the story."

The newsreader said that after the interview the impression she got from Andrew "was definitely that he had been happy with it".

She said it was not up to her to decide if he was being truthful in the interview because "it's not my job".

"I'm not a judge, I'm not a barrister, this isn't a court of law," said the presenter.

She also praised the duke for taking all the questions head-on.

"I admire him for his candour and his engagement with the questions in an age of so much deviation and circumnavigation, and quite often a failure to put yourself up for scrutiny," she said.

Prince Andrew missed the royals' traditional Christmas church service. Instead, he attended an earlier private service with his mother, walking to the church deep in conversation with his brother, Charles.

The full interview is in the Radio Times

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