Prince Andrew caught in Epstein controversy after interview, steps down from public duties

Oliver Sojka, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, Britain’s Prince Andrew announced he would be stepping down from his public duties in a royal letter to the public. This came after an interview he did, conducted by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. In the interview, Prince Andrew addressed questions posed by Maitlis about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and the accusations of sexual assault raised against him by Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre. He vehemently denied the accusations, and tried to distance himself as much as possible from Epstein. His responses were not very well-received by the general public. In fact, his interview with Maitlis may have actually backfired, with the results of the interview appearing to have been feeding a growing scandal surrounding the British royal family, in regards to Prince Andrew’s association with Epstein.

Key to the public’s perception of the BBC interview was the way Prince Andrew answered the questions. He categorically denied being involved with Epstein in multiple cases, but questions about his relationship with Epstein have been present and increasing in number since the summer of 2019, when a photograph surfaced depicting him with Epstein in Central Park. In addition to this, and perhaps most damaging to the prince, was a photo released featuring him and Giuffre, along with Ghislaine Maxwell, and Epstein associate who has herself raised questions.

“He refused to acknowledge that Epstein was always surrounded by young girls, something that many other observers have stated, but the prince claimed not to have noticed.” said Lauren Rikleen President of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership and author of The Shield of Silence: How Power Perpetuates a Culture of Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace. “Also, and I think this may have been the biggest downfall in the interview” Rikleen added, “he did not express any sympathy whatsoever for what these girls experienced due to Epstein’s conduct. Their pain was invisible to him in the way he communicated about the impact all this had on him as a member of the royal family.”

While Prince Andrew has been the one receiving the most public scrutiny thus far in regards to Jeffrey Epstein and his involvement with the convicted sex offender and trafficker, things are not even close to done being unraveled. As part of their investigation into Epstein’s estate prior to the 2008 prosecution of Epstein, Palm Beach police retrieved a list of contacts that could be potentially damning for many connected to Epstein, whether they be business partners, friends, or associates. As more information has yet to be revealed to the public, if at all, it’s possible Prince Andrew and the British royal family may not be the last public figures surrounded by scandal as part of the broader look into Epstein and his contacts.

Hannah Kim, a senior at Poolesville High School, expressed her thoughts on the recent controversies surrounding the prince, explaining Epstein’s relationship with Prince Andrew and so many others as an example of how wealth can play a role in scandals like this:

“I think the scandal speaks to how much money buys influence,” she stated. “Things like respect, dignity, and silence should never be things that can be bought.”