EXCLUSIVE: Blame it on Fergie! Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was the 'driving force' behind his 'car crash' TV interview, 'convincing the royal to get ahead of Jeffrey Epstein scandal and tell his truth'

  • Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson - known as Fergie - 'encouraged' and 'convinced' him to do his disastrous TV interview, DailyMail.com can reveal
  • The 59-year-old royal was quizzed by BBC's Emily Maitlis over his links to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein 
  • His decision has backfired spectacularly with the Duke of York facing criticism over his flimsy reasoning and apparent lack of remorse for Epstein's victims 
  • Fergie had felt Andrew needed to 'get ahead' of the scandal and present 'his truth' to the public 
  • Insiders say Fergie has been Andrew's 'sounding block' for these past few difficult months and she was among the first people he ran the idea by 
  • A royal source told DailyMail.com: 'Andrew has been relying on Sarah heavily. When the possibility of this interview arose, Sarah felt it could be the best way of clearing his name while presenting the public with a look at the real Andrew'

Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was the 'driving force' behind the Royal's decision to conduct his disastrous TV interview, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Andrew was quizzed by BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis over his links to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in an excruciating encounter at Buckingham Palace which aired Saturday.

His decision has backfired spectacularly with the Duke of York facing widespread criticism over his flimsy reasoning and apparent lack of remorse for Epstein's victims.

The 'own-goal' interview has led to a series of financial backers pulling support from Andrew's campaigns this week and the Palace reportedly restricting him to desk duties rather than royal visits.

Now DailyMail.com understands his ex-wife - known as Fergie - 'encouraged' and 'convinced' the prince to take the bold step of going on camera.

She felt Andrew, 59, needed to 'get ahead' of the scandal and present 'his truth' to the public.

Insiders say Fergie has been Andrew's 'sounding block' for these past few difficult months and she was among the first people he ran the idea by. 

Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson (pictured together in June) was the 'driving force' behind the Royal's decision to conduct his disastrous TV interview, DailyMail.com can reveal. Fergie 'encouraged' and 'convinced' him to take the bold step of going on camera because she felt Andrew, 59, needed to 'get ahead' of the scandal and present 'his truth' to the public

Prince Andrew's ex-wife Sarah Ferguson (pictured together in June) was the 'driving force' behind the Royal's decision to conduct his disastrous TV interview, DailyMail.com can reveal. Fergie 'encouraged' and 'convinced' him to take the bold step of going on camera because she felt Andrew, 59, needed to 'get ahead' of the scandal and present 'his truth' to the public

Andrew was quizzed by BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis over his links to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in an excruciating encounter at Buckingham Palace which aired Saturday

Andrew was quizzed by BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis over his links to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in an excruciating encounter at Buckingham Palace which aired Saturday

A royal source told DailyMail.com: 'Andrew has been relying on Sarah heavily. In fact she's been the prince's biggest champion and he values her opinion and experience.

'When the possibility of this interview arose, Sarah felt that it could be the best way of clearing his name while presenting the public with a look at the real Andrew.

'The interview gave him the chance to address the negative headlines rather than leave them unanswered and present his version of events.

'Given how damaging this scandal has been in the past six months, Sarah felt Andrew needed to get ahead of the matter to give his public image a better chance of recovery.'

The source added: 'She backs him to the hilt; and while this is unusual for a prince to go on TV, she felt that these were exceptional times and unusual circumstances.'

The office of The Duke of York declined to comment on whether Fergie helped in his decision making over the interview.

Instead they referred DailyMail.com to a statement released by Buckingham Palace, which stated: 'The statements made on The Duke of York's behalf since 2011 have sought to address the questions raised on his relationship with Mr Epstein and the allegations by Ms Roberts.

'HRH felt it was time to reiterate those statements in a television interview answering those questions openly, clearly and publicly.'

An advisor to the Duchess of York told DailyMail.com that we are 'incorrect' about Fergie's influence on Andrew.

James Henderson said: 'The Duchess was out of the country last week and the week before in Hong Kong; China; Saudi Arabia and Venice and was not involved in this program which took place and was finalized last week whilst she was overseas.' 

Andrew's decision has backfired spectacularly with the Duke of York facing widespread criticism over his flimsy reasoning and apparent lack of remorse for Epstein's victims

Andrew's decision has backfired spectacularly with the Duke of York facing widespread criticism over his flimsy reasoning and apparent lack of remorse for Epstein's victims

Fergie, 60, had been frustrated at how Andrew's professional and personal life had been dragged through the mud during the ongoing scandal, the royal source told DailyMail.com. 

And the Duchess likened his drama to her own plight when she was caught in the 'Cash For Access' scandal in 2010, they added.

The former wife of the Queen's second son was forced to apologize for a 'serious lapse in judgment' after she was exposed in a British newspaper sting operation promising to obtain access to her former husband in return for £500,000 ($646,000).

The shamed mother-of-two refused to hide away, however, instead taking part in a six-part reality show Finding Sarah on the OWN network.

There she addressed her experiences dealing with a tough childhood, her problematic life in the Royal Family and was adamant that she did nothing wrong.

The show won her huge sympathy around the world and helped repair her reputation and 'get her message across.'

The source said: 'Sarah had experienced her own version of this type of scandal almost a decade ago.

'She found that presenting her own story publicly helped her overcome what appeared to be an insurmountable scandal.

'So Sarah has a deep understanding of what Andrew is going through.

'As much as it is about proclaiming his innocence, she is adamant that his work and reputation come out of this unscathed.

'She is also aware that it's a long road, but she is determined to be by his side.'

Fergie had been frustrated at how Andrew's professional and personal life had been dragged through the mud during the ongoing scandal. She likened his drama to her own plight when she was caught in the 'Cash For Access' scandal in 2010, where she was exposed in a British newspaper sting operation promising to obtain access to Andrew in return for £500K ($646K)

Fergie had been frustrated at how Andrew's professional and personal life had been dragged through the mud during the ongoing scandal. She likened his drama to her own plight when she was caught in the 'Cash For Access' scandal in 2010, where she was exposed in a British newspaper sting operation promising to obtain access to Andrew in return for £500K ($646K)

Insiders say Fergie has been Andrew's 'sounding block' for these past few difficult months and she was among the first people he ran the idea by. She even posted an extraordinary tribute (pictured) to her ex husband amid allegations over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

Insiders say Fergie has been Andrew's 'sounding block' for these past few difficult months and she was among the first people he ran the idea by. She even posted an extraordinary tribute (pictured) to her ex husband amid allegations over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein

Andrew and Fergie divorced by mutual decision in May 1996 after ten years of marriage. The couple have two children together and despite the split, remain firm friends. They share space at the Royal Lodge together, where daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (pictured together in 2015), lived during their childhood

Andrew and Fergie divorced by mutual decision in May 1996 after ten years of marriage. The couple have two children together and despite the split, remain firm friends. They share space at the Royal Lodge together, where daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (pictured together in 2015), lived during their childhood 

Andrew and Fergie divorced by mutual decision in May 1996 after 10 years of marriage.

The couple have two children together and despite the split, remain firm friends.

They share space at the Royal Lodge together, where daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, lived during their childhood.

The Prince also helped his ex wife out when she was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2011.

'Sarah has long admitted that Andrew remains her best friend despite being divorced,' the source said.

'They act like an older married couple and Sarah has felt deeply wounded over this whole matter, because she feels that Andrew has been a terrific servant to his country.'

On Friday, ahead of the BBC interview airing, the Duchess of York roundly praised Prince Andrew on social media for his honesty and openness.

'It is so rare to meet people that are able to speak from their hearts with honesty and pure real truth, that remains steadfast and strong to their beliefs,' she wrote on Instagram.

'Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness of always seeing the best in people.

'I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, that dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth.'

She added: 'We have always walked tall and strong, he for me and me for him.'

This controversial picture allegedly shows Virginia Roberts, as she then was, with Prince Andrew in early 2001. The prince says he has no memory of them meeting

Andrew maintained he does not recall meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre and did not spend time with her at Tramp Nightclub in London on March 10, 2001, after which she claims the pair first had sex. The two are pictured together in early 2001

Andrew denied he slept with Giuffre (pictured in September) on three separate occasions, saying the encounter in 2001 did not happen because he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they spent the rest of the day together

Andrew denied he slept with Giuffre (pictured in September) on three separate occasions, saying the encounter in 2001 did not happen because he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they spent the rest of the day together

The Duke of York has been widely slammed for the 'car crash' BBC interview which has been described by many as a 'PR disaster'.

He faced a flurry of questions about his links to pedophile Epstein, who was found dead aged 66 earlier this year in a New York prison cell while being held on sex trafficking charges.

Andrew maintained he does not recall meeting Virginia Roberts Giuffre and did not spend time with her at Tramp Nightclub in London on March 10, 2001, after which she claims the pair first had sex.

He denied he slept with her on three separate occasions, saying the encounter in 2001 did not happen because he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they spent the rest of the day together.

The prince has also been mocked for questioning Giuffre's claim that he was 'profusely sweating' on the night they met.

Andrew disputed the events on the basis that he could not physically sweat at the time due to a 'peculiar medical condition' he suffered following the Falklands War.

Piers Morgan led the fierce online backlash against Andrew as he branded the Royal's interview 'desperate toe-curdling bulls***'.

The Sunday Times reported that a source close to Queen Elizabeth said the interview would 'go down as one of the single worst PR moves in recent history.'

And several news outlets confirmed on Sunday that the public relations guru for the prince, Jason Stein, walked off the job two weeks ago when his royal client could not be talked out of sitting down with the BBC. 

Sarah Ferguson encouraged Prince Andrew to give interview

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