Princess Beatrice and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York in London in February
The Duke of York’s former wife Sarah Ferguson and daughter Princess Beatrice were among the key figures pressing him to go ahead with last weekend’s disastrous Newsnight interview.
The Mail on Sunday understands that the Duchess of York had been keen to end the speculation about Andrew’s involvement with convicted paedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein ahead of Beatrice’s wedding to property developer Edo Mapelli Mozzi next year.
Fergie is also believed to have been convinced that if the public could see the Duke – or ‘my boy’, as she is said to call him – talking in his own words about the scandal, they would be convinced that he was telling the truth.
She could hardly have been more wrong. Last week, Andrew stepped down from Royal duties amid unrelenting criticism of his performance.
Fergie had stayed away from meetings with the Newsnight team and was abroad when details of the interview were being finalised.
However, Beatrice, the couple’s eldest daughter, was present along with Andrew’s then-private secretary Amanda Thirsk.
Beatrice, 31, and Andrew met Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and the programme’s deputy editor, Stewart Maclean, at Buckingham Palace three days before filming to discuss the scope of the interview.
‘Crying all week’: Princess Beatrice regretted the decision to allow her father’s interview to go ahead
Sombre: The princess is mortified she didn’t do more to block the interview from going ahead
An insider said: ‘Sarah [Ferguson] was abroad so Beatrice sat in on the discussions. Initially, Beatrice was sceptical that a television interview, which would inevitably delve into her father’s private life, was such a good idea.
‘She was asking lots of pertinent questions and had her doubts.
‘But by the end of the meeting she was convinced by the Newsnight team and Amanda Thirsk that they had no choice – that it was the only way to put all the rumours behind them.
‘It was clear that Fergie was always there in the background.’
So out-of-touch was the Prince that, when the interview was recorded two days before last Saturday’s broadcast, he felt it had gone well.
The source says that the Yorks had hoped the BBC would screen the interview the same night and were disappointed when producers told them it would take a few days to prepare the footage.
The Prince has confirmed to friends in recent days that his former wife had backed his participation in the programme.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Princess Beatrice at Royal Ascot in June
It is understood that Beatrice, with the benefit of hindsight, is now mortified that she did not do more to stop the interview going ahead, not least as it casts an even greater shadow over her forthcoming wedding.
It also leaves her and younger sister Eugenie in a difficult position when it comes to their future roles as working princesses.
The source said: ‘Even though she’s their daughter, both Sarah and Andrew rely on Beatrice’s judgment a lot when it comes to dealing with the public as she’s got an old head on young shoulders.
‘You can’t really blame Beatrice because I think the odds were stacked against her on this one.
‘Andrew, Fergie and Amanda decided they had to do it.’
Under pressure: Prince Andrew was forced to step down from his royal duties as a result of the Newsnight interview
Close family: Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, rely heavily on Beatrice’s judgement
Jetting off: Princess Beatrice and her finance Edo were looking to spend more time in the US following the interview
Andrew’s performance and its aftermath seem to have hit the Princess hard and she was tearful while hosting a party for her fiance’s 36th birthday at the exclusive Mayfair nightclub Annabel’s on Tuesday night.
One member of the Princess’s circle said that what should have been a celebration was a solemn and awkward affair. Prince Andrew stepped down from Royal duties the following day.
‘Beatrice was sombre and make-up-free for the birthday dinner,’ the source said.
‘She was probably worried that her mascara would run. She seemed quite tearful at times. In fact, Beatrice has been in tears every day since the interview went out.’
Such is the furore created by the interview, it has been rumoured that Beatrice and Edo might spend the next few months in America.
The Princess already spends much of her time in New York, where she works for Afiniti, a company run by Prince Harry’s friend Tom Inskip.
The picture that haunts Prince Andrew is seen in full for the first time: Uncropped image reveals interior of Ghislaine Maxwell’s home as Duke drapes his arm around 17-year-old’s waist after visit to Tramp nightclub
Of all Prince Andrew’s calamitous errors of judgment, few are as damaging as his decision to pose for a photograph with his arm around Virginia Roberts, the fingers of his left hand skimming the 17-year-old’s bare waist.
Taken at the Belgravia home of Andrew’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell, the photograph has become his millstone. In it, he grins at a camera said to be in the hands of his paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein.
The picture has been reproduced countless times around the world since it was first published by The Mail on Sunday in February 2011 – but until today it has never been shown in its entirety.
The photograph, published for the first time in its entirety, shows the interior of Ghislaine Maxwell’s Belgravia home. The prince has his arm around 17-year-old Virginia Roberts and Miss Maxwell smiles from the background
The Prince has tried – rather desperately, critics say – to suggest it was somehow faked. First unnamed friends cast doubt upon it and then, during his disastrous TV interview, Andrew himself said he didn’t ‘believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested’. He also expressed the hope that the original might one day surface, as though this might exonerate him.
In fact, the full, uncropped picture – a copy of the photograph shown to The Mail on Sunday by Miss Roberts – does nothing to advance the Duke’s cause.
Seldom do pictures appear in newspapers without being cropped for compositional reasons, and so it was with this image. The complete picture reveals further detail of the interior of Ms Maxwell’s house, in particular what appears to be a large post-Impressionist painting hanging on the wall, its bottom corner obscured by a flash of white, possibly one of Epstein’s fingers partially covering the lens.
Leaving technical issues aside, the circumstances surrounding how it was obtained all point to the picture being genuine.
At the time Miss Roberts gave it to The Mail on Sunday, she was living a quiet life with her family on Australia’s Central Coast.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre will have her first UK interview on Prince Andrew and his relationship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein published on Monday next week
The Duke of York was sacked from his royal duties earlier this week after he gave a car crash interview on BBC Newsnight. He is pictured leaving Buckingham Palace on Thursday
He was sacked from royal duties this week following a car crash interview with BBC Newsnight. The Queen was pictured riding with the Prince on Friday, in a move that is thought to signal her support for her ‘favourite son’
She wasn’t trying to seek any limelight. She had no wish to be found but was traced by this newspaper’s then New York correspondent, Sharon Churcher, who was investigating reports that the FBI was planning to reopen an investigation into the sexual exploitation of teenagers by Epstein. He had previously admitted to soliciting sex from girls as young as 14.
At first Miss Roberts was reluctant to talk, not least because she harboured fears that Epstein, who sexually groomed her from the age of 15 before ‘lending’ her to rich, powerful friends, might try to kill her. After finally agreeing, she served The Mail on Sunday team coffee on the patio adjoining her modest three-bedroom bungalow and produced the picture of Andrew from a white envelope containing a collection of photos chronicling her teenage years and travels with Epstein to New Mexico and Paris.
She explained that the picture with Andrew was taken at Ms Maxwell’s home after a visit to Tramp nightclub – a claim the Duke disputes. ‘All of us went upstairs and I asked Jeffrey to snap a picture of me with the Prince. I wanted something to show my mom,’ she said.
The Duke of York, pictured with solicitor Paul Tweed in Country Antrim in September, has tried to suggest that the image was somehow faked and that the fingers are not his
Prince Andrew has come under mounting pressure since his interview on BBC Newsnight a week ago
Until this meeting, she had simply not considered the picture’s significance. Some commentators have pointed out that when she gave it to this newspaper, she made no claim of having been sexually trafficked to him – but instead waited another four years.
This is not the case. She told Churcher at the meeting that she had sex with Andrew three times while a teenager, but for legal reasons the MoS could not publish her claims, which the Duke denies.
In his TV interview, Andrew hinted that the hand around her waist may not be his. ‘From the investigations that we’ve done, you can’t prove whether or not that photograph is faked or not because it is a photograph of a photograph of a photograph,’ he said.
Miss Roberts gave the original to the FBI which, incidentally, has never questioned its veracity.
Pictured: Prince Andrew enjoys a party at Tramp nightclub just 72 hours after Virginia Roberts’s claims that she danced with him there when ‘he was grabbing my hips’
By Charlotte Wace and Ian Gallagher for The Mail on Sunday
Deep in conversation with a female friend, Prince Andrew enjoys a party at Tramp nightclub just 72 hours after Virginia Roberts’s claims that she danced with him at the same venue when ‘he was grabbing my hips and… pouring with perspiration’.
On this occasion, March 13, 2001, the Duke was accompanied by his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson. They joined 150 guests celebrating the 40th birthday of racehorse breeder Guy Sangster, the son of racing tycoon Robert Sangster. Andrew was photographed talking to Guy Sangster’s wife Fiona.
Other luminaries at the event included fashion designer Bruce Oldfield and George Mountbatten, the Marquess of Milford Haven.
Prince Andrew, pictured in Tatler magazine, was shown enjoying a party at the Tramp nightclub just 72 hours after Virginia Roberts claimed that she danced with him at the same venue. He was talking to Fiona Sangster at a party to celebrate the 40th birthday of racing tycoon Robert
According to Tatler magazine, which sent a photographer, ‘In true Tramp fashion, the partying continued till 4am’. Whether Andrew stayed to the end is unknown but asked during his BBC interview last week about his ‘party Prince’ reputation, he replied: ‘Well, I think that’s also a bit of a stretch. I don‘t know why I’ve collected that title because I don’t… I never have really partied.’
Although the celebrations were held on March 13, Mr Sangster’s birthday actually fell on Saturday, March 10. Coincidentally, that is the date that Ms Roberts places Andrew at the club. Then aged 17, she alleges that after dancing with him at Tramp, they later had sex at Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia – the first of three alleged sexual encounters with Andrew. The Prince denies all the allegations.
According to Tatler, dancing was in evidence at the Sangster party ‘although many of the guests’ routines seemed stuck in a time warp’.
When asked during the Newsnight interview whether he remembered dancing at Tramp on March 10, Andrew replied: ‘No, that couldn’t have happened because the date that’s being suggested I was at home with the children.’
The doors of the Tramp nightclub pictured in London last week. Prince Andrew was in the club on the actual date of Robert Sangster’s birthday
Asked how he was so certain of this, the Duke replied: ‘On that particular day that we now understand is the date which is the tenth of March, I was at home, I was with the children and I’d taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of four or five in the afternoon.’
Prince Andrew is ALREADY plotting a comeback, but Charles wants him ‘permanently retired’: Duke intends clearing his name by speaking to the FBI in move Royal sources believe is ‘naively positive’
The Duke of York intends to make a grand comeback after clearing his name, The Mail on Sunday has been told.
But sources say that his brazen self-belief, which Palace insiders believe is misplaced, risks putting him on a potential collision course with the Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles was instrumental in effectively sacking his younger brother last week. And while Andrew’s statement said he was stepping back from public duties for the ‘foreseeable future’, it is understood that Charles has every intention of making his expulsion permanent.
Prince Andrew is already planning a way to get back onto the royal gravy train while his elder brother, Prince Charles, has every intention of making his expulsion permanent. The pair are pictured together at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012
A source said that they did not see how the Prince of Wales, pictured walking in Kaikoura this week, could ‘ever’ let his brother resume royal duties
After the Duke of York was sacked from the royal family the Queen was seen taking a horse ride with him around Windsor to signal her support for her ‘favourite son’
In a separate development, it emerged last night that Andrew secretly met his friend Ghislaine Maxwell at Buckingham Palace in early June – just a fortnight after US prosecutors announced that they were reopening their inquiry into the activities of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, their mutual friend.
Ms Maxwell, the daughter of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, has been accused of procuring underage girls for Epstein. She denies the claims.
During his disastrous BBC interview last week, Andrew was asked when he last saw Ms Maxwell. ‘It was earlier this year funnily enough, in the summer, in the spring, summer… She was here doing some rally,’ he replied. The Palace meeting is understood to have taken place the day before Ms Maxwell started a four-day charity motoring rally from London to Monte Carlo. This is thought to be her last visit to the UK.
A Royal source said Andrew believes that he can repair his shattered image simply by speaking to the FBI about the Epstein scandal. That view has raised eyebrows among senior Palace courtiers, who fear he can never regain public trust.
Of Andrew’s planned comeback, a source said: ‘I can’t see that Charles would ever let it happen. And many at the Palace just want him out of the scene now – end of. It’s effectively an early retirement.’
The Duke of York was photographed as he drove out of Buckingham Palace earlier this week
His ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was also seen being driven into Buckingham Palace this week
The permanent departure of Andrew would assist Charles’s aim of creating a more streamlined and cost-effective monarchy when he becomes King.
Other Royal families are already tightening their belts. In Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf recently removed five of his grandchildren from ‘the firm’.
Andrew is said to be keen for his representatives to make an approach to the FBI and is thought to be discussing the matter with his legal team. ‘The feeling is there is no other way he can clear his name unless the FBI say there are no charges to face,’ the source said.
‘The only way he can do that is to volunteer to talk under oath. He has said that he is innocent of what he is accused of and wants to clear his name.’
And while the Duke has ‘understandably been devastated that it has come to this’, insiders say he is ‘naively positive’ that he can survive the storm.
‘Under the circumstances he was in good spirits,’ said a friend who spoke to him in recent days.
The royal’s resignation came after a car crash BBC Newsnight interview broadcast last week
A Palace source added: ‘He stepped back because it proved disruptive with all of the allegations over his friendship but if… that gets resolved, it clears the way. Putting a time-frame on that is a different matter.’
Meanwhile, there is continued confusion surrounding Andrew’s role at Pitch@Palace, the platform for entrepreneurs he founded.
Barclays became the latest firm to withdraw support from the scheme, even though the bank’s sponsorship was not up for renewal for about ten months. While some say Andrew is clinging on to his pet project, others insist he has already been forced to stand aside. Buckingham Palace last night said the Duke ‘will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties’ – but the project must be moved outside of the Palace.
As of last month, there were plans for global expansion but with dwindling sponsors and no Palace to provide the glamour, many doubt the venture will survive for much longer.
Last night, loyal friends were still continuing to come forward to defend the Prince in the media, as they have done many times before. ‘I’ve been in a sauna with him – he has never sweated,’ one said. ‘He doesn’t party. He is not a party person – only drinks water and tea.
‘He goes to bed at 11.30pm and wakes up at 7.30am, seven days a week. If you translate what he said in the interview, he is very sorry.’
Nevertheless, the Duke remains under intense scrutiny. Yesterday it emerged he had stayed at the lavish Caribbean estate of fashion designer Peter Nygard, who was accused of sexually harassing three female employees.
Once dubbed the Canadian Hugh Hefner, Nygard settled the cases out of court weeks before Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah visited his home in the Bahamas.