Newsnight producer who secured BBC interview with Prince Andrew reveals how Buckingham Palace thought the 'one-off' grilling would draw line under allegations against him

  • Sam McAlister spent a year arranging sit-down on-camera meeting with Andrew 
  • She said: 'As far as the palace was concerned, this is not going to be done again' 
  • Producer confirmed he took Newsnight team on a tour of Buckingham Palace
  • Duke of York discussed friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein 

The Duke of York's Newsnight interview was viewed by Buckingham Palace as a 'one-off' which will never be repeated, the producer has said.

Sam McAlister spent a year securing the sit-down on-camera meeting with Andrew in which he discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke has since faced a barrage of criticism following the BBC programme on Saturday and has been accused of a lack of empathy with Epstein's victims.

Producer Sam McAlister spent a year securing the sit-down on-camera meeting with Andrew

Producer Sam McAlister spent a year securing the sit-down on-camera meeting with Andrew

Ms McAlister told GQ magazine: 'As far as the palace was concerned, this is not going to be done again, this interview.

'This is a one-off. And they wanted to ensure that there were no misunderstandings about His Royal Highness doing a candid and fair exchange.'

She added: 'They understood that that was what they were looking for.

'To be frank, they wanted to do something that was clear, open, impartial, rigorous – and there was never any misunderstanding about what was on offer.

'The integrity and the rigour of the programme, I feel, is one of the things that attracted them to us.'

The Duke of York took members of the Newsnight team on a tour of Buckingham Palace after the interview with Emily Maitlis, which was broadcast on the BBC on Saturday evening

The Duke of York took members of the Newsnight team on a tour of Buckingham Palace after the interview with Emily Maitlis, which was broadcast on the BBC on Saturday evening

Ms McAlister called the interview 'no holds barred', adding: 'The extent of his openness, frankness, the length of (the duke's) answers, the generosity of the time that he spent with us … It certainly felt a very significant and unusual situation to be in.'

Describing the experience, she said: 'Once the cameras start rolling and you're sitting behind His Royal Highness The Duke Of York, doing his first ever interview on allegations of the type that you never expect to hear a member of the royal family speak on in your lifetime, you definitely start to feel that something momentous, of national significance, is happening.

'And that was certainly my feeling when I was lucky enough to be in that room.'

The Duke has since faced a barrage of criticism following the BBC programme on Saturday

The Duke has since faced a barrage of criticism following the BBC programme on Saturday

She confirmed that Andrew took members of the Newsnight team on a tour of the palace.

'The prince was extremely congenial afterwards, as he was throughout the entire process – he could not have been more generous and kind to us, particularly given the circumstances, and he showed (interviewer) Emily (Maitlis) and other members of the team around the palace,' she said. 

During the interview, the duke, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated that his relationship with Epstein had some 'seriously beneficial outcomes', giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.

Andrew denied that he slept with Virginia Roberts - now Virginia Giuffre - one of Epstein's victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage under US law, saying one encounter in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter, Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

The same alleged sexual liaison, which the American said began with the duke sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp, was factually wrong as Andrew said he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat. 

The Duke's role in public life has suffered further major setbacks today with another multimillion-pound business cutting ties and universities reviewing their association with him.

Asian-focused bank Standard Chartered has joined KPMG in deciding not to renew its sponsorship of Andrew's Pitch@Palace scheme.

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein are pictured together in New York's Central Park in 2011

Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein are pictured together in New York's Central Park in 2011

London Metropolitan University is to consider the duke's role as its patron, while a student panel at Huddersfield University has passed a motion to lobby the duke to resign as its chancellor.

Amid the unravelling of the duke's position, former home secretary Jacqui Smith made fresh claims of racism, saying Andrew made "racist comments about Arabs that were unbelievable" at a Buckingham Palace state banquet.

The Queen's second son is facing the embarrassing prospect of charities and institutions he is associated with distancing themselves after his controversial Newsnight interview.

Andrew discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in jail while facing sex trafficking charges. 

Buckingham Palace believed Prince Andrew interview was a 'one-off'

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