Prince Andrewwas questioned by journalist Emily Maitlis at Buckingham Palace on Thursday for the BBC Two program The Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview, which aired this evening. Until now, Andrew – who has strongly denied claims that he had sex with Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts) when she was 17 – had only released prepared statements through the palace’s media team. Questions about the Duke’s relationship with Epstein resurfaced after the financier was accused of child sex trafficking offences in the US.
Epstein was in custody on those charges when he was found dead aged 66 earlier this year.
Andrew cut all ties to Epstein in 2006 after he was convicted and jailed for soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution. He didn’t speak to Epstein again until 2010.
But midway through the televised interview, Mr Morgan, who has 6.9million followers on Twitter, tweeted a scathing attack against the Duke.
He wrote: “This is one of the most astonishing interviews I’ve ever watched.
Piers Morgan launched an astonishing attack against Prince Andrew(Image: ITV / BBC)
Brilliant forensic dissection by @maitlis – desperate, toe-curling bulls *** from Prince Andrew. Why on earth did he do this? Insane
“Brilliant forensic dissection by @maitlis – desperate, toe-curling bulls *** from Prince Andrew.
“Why on earth did he do this? Insane. ”
The Duke and Epstein had been pictured together after Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in jail in Florida after admitting a charge of procuring for prostitution a girl below age 18.
He has said he did not “see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction”.
Andrew was also pictured with his arm around Mrs Giuffre in London in 2001, when she was 17. She alleges she was coerced into having sex with the royal on three occasions.
Mrs Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein to have sex with his rich and famous friends, but her allegations about the Duke were struck from the US court record in 2015 after a judge branded them “immaterial and impertinent”.
Piers Morgan described Prince Andrew’s decision to be interviewed as ‘insane’(Image: @piersmorgan / Twitter)
Ms Maitlis pointed out to the Duke that Mrs Giuff
She said: “She says she met you in 2001, she says she dined with you, danced with you at Tramp Nightclub in London. She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend. Your response? ”
Andrew replied:“ I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.
When Ms Maitlis highlighted Mrs Giuffre said she had met him in 2001, the Duke replied: “It didn’t happen.”
He added: “I’ve no recollection of ever meeting her, I’m almost, in fact I’m convinced that I was never in Tramps with her.
“There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramps. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there. “
Sarah Ferguson Prince Andrew: Relationship of ‘BEST divorced couple’[INSIGHT]
Prince Andrew overruled Royal aides over ‘disastrous’ interview[COMMENT]
Sarah Ferguson devastated: How one royal caused Fergie heartbreak[ANALYSIS]
The Duke was quizzed on his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein by Emily Maitlis(Image: BBC)
During the interview, the Duke of York said he had in fact been home with his children on the evening he allegedly had sex with Ms Giuffre, after taking Princess Beatrice to a birthday party at Pizza Express in
He said: “No, I’ve no recollection of ever meeting her, I’m almost, in fact I’m convinced that I was never in Tramps with her. There are a number of things that are wrong with that story, one of which is that I don’t know where the bar is in Tramps. I don’t drink, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a drink in Tramps whenever I was there.
“On that particular day that we now understand is the date which is the 10 th of March, I was at home, I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at I suppose sort of 4 or 5 in the afternoon.
“And then because the Duchess was away, we have a simple rule in the family that when one is away the other one is there. I was on terminal leave at the time from the Royal Navy so therefore I was at home. ”
He said a medical condition he contracted during his time in the Falklands War meant he could not sweat.
Prince Andrew came in for a scathing attack on Twitter from Piers Morgan(Image: BBC)
He said: “There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn ‘t sweat at the time and that was… was it… yes, I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falkland’s War when I was shot at and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.
“And it’s only because I have done a number of things in the recent past that I am starting to be able to do that again. So I’m afraid to say that there’s a medical condition that says that I didn’t do it so therefore… ”
Andrew said in a previous statement : “At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”
Buckingham Palace said previously: “Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
“It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation. “
A US Federal Appeals Court has warned that allegations in court papers should not be understood as firm findings or as “some sort of marker of reliability” because New York law grants absolute immunity from liability for defamation.