Sometimes you’re better off just keeping your mouth shut, and especially if you’re a British royal who kept hanging out with a serial pedophile and sex trafficker after his conviction. Prince Andrew tried defusing the situation that had long blown up in his face, and not only did his idea of a BBC interview not succeed, it made his problems exponentially worse. CNN reports that the British press issued “near-universal condemnation” of Andrew’s attempts to explain his inexplicable relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, an interview which reminded Britons and everyone else around the world why royals are best seen and not heard:
If Prince Andrew hoped that a TV interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein would stop the flow of negative press coverage he faced, he could not have been more wrong. …
The interview, recorded Thursday, was the first time Prince Andrew has spoken about the accusations publicly, though he has repeatedly denied them through statements issued by Buckingham Palace.
He chose to stay at Epstein’s home, the prince said, because it was “convenient” and “honorable.”
Honorable? Yes, Andrew explained, his main failing is that “my tendency is to be too honorable.” Supposedly he sought out Epstein to break off the relationship, which is an absurd notion in any circumstances, let alone a British royal believing he owed a pervert like Epstein a break-up date. Andrew stayed in Epstein’s house, which is also an odd way to part company with a friend.
“How do you spend four days in America killing a friendship?” asked one PR professional in response to a query from the Washington Post. “Everybody has fallen out with a friend. Do they spend four days in a luxury flat?” Their round-up of reactions is similarly, and universally, negative even beyond that one answer:
“I expected a train wreck,” tweeted Charlie Proctor, editor of the Royal Central website. “That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion level bad.”
Dickie Arbiter, the queen’s former press secretary, said that if Andrew thought he’d “drawn a line in the sand” over the saga, he was “in cuckoo land.”
“Whomever advised he did this interview ought to collect his/her P45,” he tweeted, referring to the British equivalent of a pink slip. And later: “#PrinceAndrew doesn’t regret his relationship with Epstein because he made useful contacts. Dear god — no remorse for #Epstein’s victims but an abundance of arrogance.” …
Andrew was also criticized for what he didn’t say. He expressed no concern for Epstein’s victims. “Not One Single Word of Remorse,” read a front-page headline on the Mail on Sunday.
Channel 4’s analysis was even more brutal, which picks up at the six-minute mark of the video below. Women’s rights campaigner Catherine Mayer declared that Andrew “saw himself as the victim,” and that Andrew showed no remorse and offered no apologies to the victims. “I am sure,” she concludes, “that very large parts of the monarchy will be horrified by what he has done”:
In a demonstration of just how insulated the royals are, Andrew apparently told his mother that it had all gone splendidly:
PRINCE Andrew told the Queen today his disastrous BBC interview was “a great success”.
Prince Andrew was “buoyant” as he attended church with his mum despite the furious backlash which has put his official role under threat and plunged the Royal Family into its biggest crisis in years. …
His pal revealed last night: “The Duke went to church with the Queen and was heard telling her it’s all been a great success.
“He thinks he’s done the right thing and has put the criticism to rest. He was all smiles and was looking very buoyant and happy.”
If Buckingham Palace thought this would finally put the issue to rest, they are sorely mistaken. It’s so bad, CNN notes, that it might even overshadow Brexit in the upcoming elections. The British electorate is sick to death of hearing about Brexit, and Prince Andrew just handed them a juicy scandal to debate in its stead:
But here in the UK, there’s only one story in town. On Saturday night, Prince Andrew gave an excruciating interview to the BBC’s Emily Maitlis about his relationship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died by apparent suicide while awaiting trial on federal charges that he sexually abused underage girls and ran a sex trafficking ring. Epstein had pleaded not guilty. …
Normally, election campaigns are a time when leaders and candidates want as much coverage as possible to sell their vision for the country to the nation.
But with both parties slinging so much mud at one another, Corbyn and Johnson may well be content to see this royal scandal dominate coverage for a few days, if not the rest of the week. That’s especially true in a week that’s expected to see the launch of party manifestos — traditionally the time when policy pledges are pulled apart by experts.
It’s almost inevitable that both men will be asked questions about the Andrew story when they face one another in a face-to-face debate on Tuesday. In that respect, the prince has thrown a fire blanket on both Brexit and the election campaign. And, it seems, the public are entirely happy to be distracted from the nation’s Brexit fatigue.
That’ll only last a short while, but it didn’t have to happen at all. Reportedly, the Queen approved the idea of the BBC interview, which calls her own judgment into question. One has to wonder now about the succession, too, which would normally pass to Andrew’s brother Charles, who is not a terribly popular figure — although his standing has improved significantly in the two decades since Diana’s death. The monarchy might need to move directly to the new generation by making William the heir apparent, hoping to leverage the popularity of Diana’s son and distance themselves from the stink left behind by Andrew and Charles.
Here’s the BBC interview in its entirety, soon to be a legendary cautionary tale in public relations.