Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis has said she did not expect her interview with the Duke of York to have the repercussions it had.
The journalist interviewed Andrew about the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal last month.
The duke’s attempt to set the record straight about his relationship with the convicted sex offender – and counter allegations he slept with one of Epstein’s groomed teenagers – was widely condemned for its unsympathetic tone and lack of remorse about the friendship.
He stepped down from official public duties for the foreseeable future following the backlash.
Maitlis told Radio Times magazine: “I didn’t see it coming.
“It wasn’t an attempt to bring down the royals, just a chance to understand the story.”
She added: “I didn’t like people saying, ‘Oh, it’s a car crash interview’, because I thought, ‘That’s not enticing, that’s not encouraging’.
“I don’t want people thinking that’s what happens at Newsnight.”
The newsreader said that after the interview the impression she got from Andrew “was definitely that he had been happy with it”.
She said it was not up to her to decide whether he was being truthful in the interview because “it’s not my job”.
“I’m not a judge, I’m not a barrister, this isn’t a court of law,” said the presenter.
She also praised the duke for taking all the questions head-on.
“I admire him for his candour and his engagement with the questions in an age of so much deviation and circumnavigation, and quite often a failure to put yourself up for scrutiny,” she said.
The full interview is in the Radio Times.