British Royal Family

Why Prince Andrew's explosive interview could be the final straw for the Palace

The rare interview has sent shock waves throughout the world.

By Jess Pullar
Members of the royal family have been, and likely always will be notoriously private about some things - but there are some exceptions.
In the case of Prince Andrew, the feat could not ring any truer.
In an unprecedented moment, the royal has delivered an explosive personal interview to the BBC about his connection to Jeffery Epstein, a man who was at the centre of federal sex trafficking charges, and who died in jail in August.
Following the shock announcement about Epstein's death earlier in the year, all eyes turned to Prince Andrew, who was allegedly associated with Epstein, with one woman claiming that Andrew himself had sex with her while she was involved in Epsteins alleged ring at age 17.
Pictures of the royal from around that time have also raised heavy suspicion as to his involvement in the case, with reports stating Andrew was seen at Jeffery's mansion nine years ago.
The case has not been tried, let alone solved after Epstein's death, believed to be by suicide. This has only fuelled speculation and rumours about the Duke of York's connection to Epstein.
Prince Andrew's involvement with the late Jeffrey Epstein has been at the centre of scathing headlines over the past year. (Getty)
That, it appears, is the reason why Prince Andrew decided to take it upon himself to address the rumours directly.
Sitting down with journalist Emily Maitlis, Andrew vehemently denied claims that he had sex with 17-year-old Virginia.
"It didn't happen," Prince Andrew said.
"I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever."
He also provided his own justification for meeting Epstein nine years ago, which was after Epstein had been convicted and imprisoned for soliciting and procuring a minor. Andrew said his visit was to simply to end his friendship with him.
"I took the judgement call that because this was serious, and I felt that doing it over the telephone was the chicken's way of doing it, I had to go and see him and talk to him," he said in the BBC interview.
Andrew relayed more facts which were very specific, including that he had taken Princess Beatrice to a pizza restaurant around the time he had been accused of being out in London with Giuffre.
He also addressed Giuffre's accusations about how the Prince profusely sweated, telling Maitlis that this was not possible due to a pre-existing medical condition that made it " almost impossible" to sweat.
Andrew's tell-all interview has left a sour taste for many. (Getty)
Since the explosive interview aired, a strong wave of criticism has circled the royal, with a number of renowned royal commentators weighing in - and many were asking the same question - did the Palace really approve this?
Royal commentator and author Victoria Arbiter said she understood the Queen herself "gave the go ahead" for the interview to take place, but she did not believe the Queen could have seen clips or a finished cut of the segment.
"Had she seen it I expect there'd have been a fight to prevent it airing," the royal commentator wrote.
Meanwhile Dickie Arbiter, who was the Queen's former press secretary, was also unconvinced at the necessity of the interview, sensationally labelling it "not so much a car crash but an articulated lorry crash."
WATCH: Buckingham Palace denies the Prince Andrew scandal. Story continues...
But why did the Palace appear to sign off on such a risky interview, when, going by headlines, it appears to have only done more harm than good to Andrew's case, and will this change things for them moving forward?
If we cast our minds back, we'll be reminded that this certainly isn't the first time a member of the royal family has taken such drastic measures to clear up and address rumours reported by media.
In fact, we've seen it happen very recently when Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan featured in a confronting ITV documentary, which highlighted the pressure and immense stress the pair were under as a result of constant media scrutiny.
In the hour-long doco, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, clips of Meghan relaying the extent of her distress gripped the world.
"I've really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip... I've tried, I've really tried," she told reporter Tom Bradby.
She also admitted that while she never thought becoming a member of the royal family would be easy, she "thought it would be fair".
The admission was met with mixed reactions from the public, with some labelling their cry for help as an "utter disaster".
PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Guardian at the time that the pair were "not convincing" many traditional monarchists, and were breaking all the normal royal family rules of "never complain, never explain".
Meghan's raw and emotional admission in the recently aired Harry and Meghan: An African Journey was met with mixed reactions. (Getty)
He went on to explain that given the royal family being a publicly-funded heritage, they have a duty to uphold the love of a nation.
Celebrities on the other hand, are different, he said.
"The royal family are a publicly-funded heritage business, and as anybody that has entered [it] has discovered, the rules go out of the window," he said, before adding, "[Celebrities] don't have the same responsibility, don't have the love of the nation to deal with."
Reports also flew that Prince William was "worried" about Prince Harry in the wake of the documentary, with a Palace source telling the BBC that Harry and Meghan were in a "fragile place", which only fuelled the future King's concern for his brother.
Now, as the Sussexes embark on a short hiatus away from the spotlight in the lead up till Christmas, the true effect their documentary really had in changing public opinion remains to be seen.
Meghan and Harry were reportedly in a "fragile place" as the documentary aired. (Getty)
Another unexpected royal interview that divided the masses was Princess Diana's 1995 segment with BBC journalist Martin Bashir, where she famously alluded to Princes Charles' alleged affair with Camilla Parker Bowles while he was still married to the late-Princess.
Indeed her comment that there had been "three of us in this marriage" sent shockwaves through the world as she laid bare her belief that the affair was the reason for the breakdown of her marriage to the Prince of Wales.
At the time, the interview was met with mixed reactions, even from within the royal family themselves.
In fact, Vanity Fair's royal correspondant Katie Nicholl claimed Prince William was "exposed to everything from the interview," adding that he "called his mother in a fury and a rage".
Later, William cleared things up, saying he understood why his mother had chosen to go public, citing: "You feel incredibly desperate and it is very unfair that things are being said that are untrue."
That being said, he still voiced his hesitations over taking such drastic measures.
"The easiest thing to do is just say or go to the media yourself. Open that door. [But] once you've opened it you can ever close it again."
WATCH: Diana's 1983 confrontation with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Story continues...
The fallout, be it both good and bad, from both Diana's interview and Harry and Meghan's documentary is crucial to note in light of Prince Andrew's unprecedented tell-all.
It seems the Duke of York was in a place similar to that of the aforementioned royals, and was willing to take similar drastic action in an attempt to counter, and persuade public opinion.
Unfortunately, the feat may have done him more harm than good as the public reel from the unexpected explanations delivered by the Prince in the BBC interview.
And so, with yet another questionable PR move from the royal family potentially falling short, it might well be the final straw for the Palace.
Whether we will see members of the royal family open up so frankly in the future remains to be seen.
But in any case, there's certainly a lesson to be learned here - these emotionally-charged and raw displays from a family renowned for their elusive and poised displays do incite reactions no one can fully ever prepare for.
Perhaps it's this learning, if anything, that could halt a Palace hand from signing the dotted line in future.