Last week in the news was a certain member of the British Royal family, ohh yes, you’ve guessed it. It was Prince Andrew and he has had an absolute PR nightmare this week because of his relationship with convicted Human trafficker and sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Once I heard he was voluntarily doing this interview I couldn’t actually get my head around it, Epstein has been dead for months and there was no noise at all from the Windsor’s no communication on the issue at all. What on earth made the Royal family who I would assume have a strict communication policy actually allow this to happen? I’m very sure an inquest into this will be held and someone will be held responsible.
The interview itself was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward things I’ve ever watched. Prince Andrew himself did not seem at all comfortable with the discussion as a whole. Surprisingly most of Prince Andrews Public relations advisers wanted him too to do the interview, however only one advisor Jason Stein was against the idea. Stein had previously been special advisor or “Spin doctor” to Amber Rudd and left the role by mutual consent because he knew how much of a backlash the Prince would face from the interview and he was correct.
The interview took place on BBC Newsnight and was approved by the Queen, every answer Prince Andrew gave seemed like even he doubted them. The reason for the interview was a picture of Prince Andrew with one of Epstein’s sexual slaves Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, she was a young woman who had been trafficked by Epstein and remained a slave. She stated that she danced with a sweaty prince Andrew and that they had sexual relations something he strongly denies. The answer Prince Andrew gave was the strangest response I’ve ever heard to a sexual allegation “I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the Falklands War when I was shot at and I simply… it was almost impossible for me to sweat.” He did not actually deny the allegation of sexual abuse but said he didn’t sweat instead, he did not have to worry because he had half the nation sweating for him.
He also stated that he had an alibi for the date that Virginia Roberts-Giuffre stated that they had sexual relations “I was with the children and I’d taken [daughter Princess] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon.”.When asked by the BBC why he would remember a meal at Pizza Express 18 years later, he said: “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.” I think remembering taking your daughter for a party 18 years ago is most unusual thing, how could anyone physically remember this event, but I suppose Pizza express is as good as place for an alibi as any.
Once he had denied all of this there’s still the question of the picture of himself and Virginia Roberts-Giuffre together smiling while he has his arm around her waist, and it looks like a perfectly normal photo until you release the context. Of course, this was the response by Prince Andrew “Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken” from this I don’t think he can prove it’s a doctored photograph and not remembering something does not mean it didn’t happen. Who ever is advising on the wording of his script definitely did not read over it again. When asked about his hand around the young woman’s waist he stated “I am not one to, as it were, hug, and public displays of affection are not something that I do… I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested. “He also added: “That’s me but whether that’s my hand or whether that’s the position I… but I don’t… I have simply no recollection of the photograph ever being taken”. At this point he seemed nervous by the questions and he actually stammered as you can see in the quotes, he wasn’t even convinced by the story himself. If you’re going to lie at least be confident about it, the entire episode reminds me of the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky case and unlike Bill who just simply point blank lied. Andrew has confused himself and his story during the interview and has not cleared a thing up in my opinion.
He did not even express regret or apologies to the victims of his billionaire friend Epstein instead he said, “The people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.” If this interviews purpose was to create a more positive public image of Prince Andrew and to repair the damage that his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein caused, it has done the complete opposite of this desired effect and quiet simply been a PR meltdown that the Prince may never recover from.
Jordan Arthur is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/jordan-arthur-864694173 and Facebook – facebook.com/jordanarthur.71