01 May 2023

Emily Maitlis felt ‘really sick’ ahead of Newsnight interview with Andrew

01 May 2023

Emily Maitlis has recalled how she felt “really sick” ahead of her BBC Newsnight interview with the Duke Of York.

The journalist, who grilled Andrew over his relationship with paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, is executive producer of a new Channel 4 documentary, which forms part of the broadcaster’s programming around the coronation.

Following the Newsnight broadcast in November 2019 and the furore over Andrew’s friendship with Epstein, the duke stepped down from public life.


In newly released clips for the two-part programme Andrew: The Problem Prince, Maitlis said: “I arrived at the palace with my huge bag. I ended up wearing this sort of military-style jacket.

“I remember thinking he’ll like a military coat, he’s a man of the armed forces, he’ll appreciate that and then I start to feel actually just really sick and I sort of dived into the loo.

“I just wanted the door shut, I wanted to have two seconds of going: ‘Where am I? Right, what’s going on? Where is my head?’

“I had to deal with the fact that I was about to ask this man, this royal, this prince about his sex life. I was thinking, ‘how do I not mess this up?'”

This is how I know that Prince Andrew was happy with the interview, because he stayed chatting. He seemed very jolly

The journalist grilled Andrew over allegations that Epstein’s victim Virginia Giuffre was trafficked to have sex with the royal when she was 17 – still a minor under US law – during the Newsnight exclusive.

The duke denied he had sex with Ms Giuffre, adding he had no recollection of ever meeting her and that he had spent the day of the alleged meeting at a Pizza Express restaurant in Woking, Surrey, at a party with one of his daughters.

In one alleged encounter, Ms Giuffre claimed that Andrew had sweated heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp.

However, the duke denied this saying he could not sweat at the time due to a medical condition relating from his time serving in the Falklands War.

Maitlis – who left the BBC in February 2022 and now works on Global’s The News Agents podcast –  said: “This is how I know that Prince Andrew was happy with the interview, because he stayed chatting. He seemed very jolly.”

She added: “A whole load of people came in and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ And they said: ‘Oh Thursday evenings we have cinema night at the palace. You can stay if you want’.

“And at that point, I just thought: ‘I’ve got to get away from here. I need space to work out what just happened’.”

Last year, Andrew reached an out-of-court settlement – which was not an admission of wrongdoing – with Ms Giuffre reportedly worth up to 12 million US dollars (£9.6 million) following her civil sex claim against him in the US.

The duke has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal jail in New York in August 2019 at the age of 66 while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges. The death was ruled a suicide.

Netflix is adapting the Newsnight interview, with Sex Education star Gillian Anderson playing Maitlis and The Man In The High Castle actor Rufus Sewell as Andrew.

Andrew: The Problem Prince airs in two parts on Monday May 1 and Monday May 8 at 9pm on Channel 4.

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