Prince Andrew ‘regrets’ Newsnight interview and admits he ‘should have been sympathetic’

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Prince Andrew has admitted for the first time that he ‘regrets’ his BBC Newsnight interview about his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The Duke of York, 60, is hoping he will be able to resume his senior royal duties, according to the Sunday Times.

But the Queen’s patience with her embattled son is ‘wearing thin’ after he got himself into yet another public scrap over the FBI’s investigation into Epstein, a source told the newspaper.

Buckingham Palace is ‘furious’ with the Duke of York after he rowed with US investigators probing the American billionaire, who died in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Courtiers are accusing the duke’s statement to investigators who have requested to quiz him of overshadowing his father’s birthday celebrations.

Prince Philip’s 99th birthday was hoped to be a positive moment for the troubled monarchy, but it came in the same week Andrew dominated headlines once again as he slammed US investigators.

A source close to the duke told the newspaper the duke regretted the fallout over his disastrous interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis.

He had described the widely-mocked interview as a ‘success’ – but is now said to have expressed regret he failed to apologise to Epstein’s victims.

The Duke has faced humiliation over his response to questions about his links to disgraced Epstein.

The Sunday Times reports today he will refuse to co-operate with the request of US investigators that he travel to the States to help with their inquiries until he gets an ‘olive branch’.

In the Newsnight interview he denied having sex with Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre, now Roberts, on three occasions.

Giuffre has claimed in US court she was flown across the world by Epstein, including once, in March 2001, to have sex in London with the prince, who has denied her allegation.

The source told the Sunday Times: “I don’t think he regrets the intention behind the interview, which was to clear the air for his family, the royal family and the institution.

“But the fact he was unable to appropriately or sufficiently convey his sympathy for the victims of Epstein, is of course a source of regret.”

Prince Andrew’s handling of the saga was said to have dismayed senior Palace courtiers.

They claimed the duke still intended to resume a public role, and viewed his step back from senior duties as a ‘sabbatical’ rather than a permanent move.

They also claimed the duke is conscious of the effect of the scrutiny on him has had on the royal family, also still reeling from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s bombshell exit.

But palace officials were said to be fuming anew after he publicly locked horns with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in a fresh row last week.

The DOJ has filed a Mutual Legal Assistance request to the British government in a bid to force the prince to supply a statement.

He issued a scathing statement through his lawyers claiming he had offered at least three times to speak to US investigators and that they had used his status to gain publicity for their inquiry.

The source claimed Palace staff were ‘furious’ at Andrew, saying he propelled himself back into the public spotlight during the Duke of Edinburgh’s birthday week.

Prince Philip’s milestone on Wednesday was celebrated relatively quietly by Palace standards during lockdown, as the UK grapples with the coronavirus crisis and ongoing protests.

The palace source told the Sunday newspaper hopes Philip’s birthday would be a positive moment for the monarchy had been dashed.

They added: “The idea that the Queen will simply indulge Prince Andrew … is wide of the mark. Her patience has been wearing thin for a long time. She had resisted this slimming down of the monarchy but it’s fair to say she is not now standing in the way of that in her lifetime.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment when approached by Mirror online.

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