By now you know about Prince Andrew’s interview with Emily Maitlis for BBC Newsnight. It was a disaster. In the moment though, Andrew and his aides had no idea. The British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs) will be announced virtually on July 31 and Newsnight’s Prince Andrew interview has been nominated in the news category. Emily Maitlis is doing some interviews ahead of the event and she spoke to the Radio Times (via Yahoo) about the experience.
Emily says that while it was only later in editing that she realised what the impact would be, she did realise while the interview was happening that this was an unprecedented level of candour:
"First, he was tackling the subject matter head on. Secondly, the lack of apology or any real expression of regret told me that the prince still believed that his actions had broadly been the right ones. And thirdly, the level of detail was unlike anything I was expecting.”
Once they got the tapes back into the edit suite, the enormity of Andrew’s f-ckup began to materialise – via The Guardian:
“We’d assumed that he’d want to show empathy to the victims or pin the blame on Jeffrey Epstein. We couldn’t understand why he hadn’t done that. We definitely thought he’d be spikier.”
Andrew and his team, however, were oblivious. As Emily said, they thought he’d done a good job! Which we already knew because she’d already told us a few months ago that immediately after they wrapped, Andrew was swanning around Buckingham Palace offering to take her on a tour and inviting her to stay for a screening!
Emily is elaborating now on Team York’s reaction in the days following the interview and before it aired:
“We know that the palace was happy with the interview. We had plenty of engagement with them after it went out. I think their shock was not at the interview itself, but the reaction it caused in the days and weeks afterwards.”
Remember, this is the interview where he talked about his defective sweat glands and going for pizza in Woking, didn’t much care for the exploitation of the women who were raped and sex trafficked, described Epstein’s crimes as behaviour that was “unbecoming”, and then defended his association with Epstein because of all the “eminents” that he was introduced to during their time together – and that’s just the most cursory summary of what a sh-t show the interview actually was!
He thought he aced it! They thought he aced it! Which tells you so much about his worldview and his self-view, because here’s a man who’s been widely described as being an imbecile moving through life with the opinion that he is, in fact, a genius. Not everyone is born with cleverness, but Prince Andrew was born with a lot of privilege. So when you combine his arrogant sense of entitlement with an exaggerated estimation of his capabilities, the results can be embarrassing at best and… well… potentially criminal at worst.
And that doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it is enabled. There’s an entire institution that made this possible, several people were present at the time of Andrew’s interview with Emily Maitlis and not only did they not sound the alarm, they seemed ready to celebrate. And we’re supposed to talk about this family like their standard is the ultimate benchmark of excellence.