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Prince Andrew's 'biggest regret' was failing to denounce 'fake photo' with Virginia Giuffre
15 January 2024, 12:22 | Updated: 15 January 2024, 12:26
Prince Andrew's biggest regret following his disastrous Newsnight interview is said to be that he did not denounce the photograph of him with Virginia Giuffre as a fake.
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Andrew believed the picture had been digitally manipulated and successfully argued his case to the Queen.
But due to his suspicions not being confirmed, Andrew was told by Buckingham Palace not to make an explicit accusation, according to the Times.
The Duke of York later paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case with Virginia Giuffre. He strenuously denies any wrongdoing.
Before his Newsnight interview, royal aides were said to have given him “marching orders” to avoid addressing the image.
When asked about it, he sad he had “no memory of that photograph ever being taken”.
“Nobody can prove whether or not that photograph has been doctored but I don’t recollect that photograph ever being taken,” Andrew said.
He added: "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 questioned whether the hand around Ms Giuffre's waist matched his own as well as the clothes he was wearing.
Friends of the prince have also denounced the photo over the years, suggesting it had “something decidedly wrong about it”.
A source told the paper that Andrew had been “quite agitated” ahead of the interview due to him being told not to talk about the picture being fake and, upon reflection, regarded it as “the biggest mistake he ever made in his life”.
The interview led to Andrew stepping down from public life after the furore over his friendship with Epstein, and with Ms Giuffre, a woman he claimed never to have met.
He was cast out of the working monarchy and no longer uses his HRH style.
Biographer Tom Bower said his mistake was claiming he had no memory of meeting Ms Giuffre.
“That was his real downfall. If only he said: ‘Of course I met her but that photo isn’t accurate’," he said.
“To say he never met her was so stupid. I don’t believe a photo like that can be concocted.”
Mr Bower also said the unsealing of recent court documents had provided no new evidence.
“The most important thing is that all of these documents have revealed nothing," he said. "Not one of those documents names one name who has taken advantage of those girls other than Epstein and, allegedly, Andrew.”
He continued: “If he hadn’t done the interview, he would have gotten away with it.”
Mr Bower said he did not believe there was a way back into public life for Andrew, adding: "He’s absolutely cast out. Charles has been too kind to him as it is."