Newsnight at the Palace

18 November 2019

Prince Andrew made the interesting decision to be interviewed by the BBC Newsnight about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and allegations about sex with a teenage girl at the Palace. 

DRD Senior Associate Fflur Sheppard was asked by BBC Radio Cymru’s Dros Gino programme (the Welsh language equivalent of Jeremy Vine’s lunchtime BBC Radio 2 current affairs show) to take part in a Q&A on the matter, alongside an ex-Sun journalist.

You can listen (in Welsh) from 1.07.49 here or read a summary below.

The interview has almost done as much damage to Prince Andrew’s reputation as the relationship with Epstein itself.  He’s given strange headline-grabbing answers about sweating and pizza, shown that he’s tone-deaf to the Me Too campaign, and damaged the royal family’s reputation alongside his own.

The first step when communicating in a crisis is to try and control the situation, and that’s what he has attempted to do.  He’s tried to provide context for the allegations, and tried to show that he’s a good guy – a man who’s fought for his country, a man who puts his family first – but he’s failed at this.

Instead of an interview, his advisors could have encouraged him to give a statement if he had something new to say.  We always advise clients to tell the truth, to acknowledge that something has gone wrong, to show that lessons have been learned, and promise to do better in future.

The location of the interview is important.  He chose it to show that he’s important, that he’s dignified, but instead that room in the palace has shown him up, and put the royal family in a difficult position. The only answer now is probably to keep him out of the way, off public duties, until things calm down.

PHOTO: Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis, Courtesy of BBC Newsnight