Fierce fallout after Prince Andrew breaks his silence on Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew answered questions about his friendship with Epstein in a new interview.
9:21 | 11/18/19

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Transcript for Fierce fallout after Prince Andrew breaks his silence on Jeffrey Epstein
Late 2020 it arrives trending big overnight. That interview with prince Andrew answering questions Fors first time about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. Eva pilgrim has that story for us. Good morning, Eva. Reporter: This whole thing is highly unusual. It's rare you see interviews with the royal family under any circumstance let alone something like this and this sparks an immediate firestorm one uk paper calling the prince entitled and prince Andrew speaking publicly for the first time about his relationship with now deceased multimillionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming, yes. Unbecoming? He was a sex offend. Yeah, I'm sorry, I'm being polite. In the sense that he was a sex offender, but, no, was I right in having him as a friend at the time when bearing in mind this was some years before he was accused of being a sex offender, I didn't think there was anything wrong then. Reporter: Prince Andrew and eighth in line to the British throne telling bbc's "Newsnight" he has no regrets about his friendship with him. Now still not the reason being that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful. Reporter: In 2008 Epstein was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. In 2010 just months after Epstein's sentence ended the prince was seen in this video obtained by "The mail" Sunday appearing in the door of Epstein's home and admits he stayed there four days but came to end his friend snip. You were staying at the house of a convicted sex offender? It was a convenient place to stay. There's -- I mean, I have a gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day with the benefit of all the hindsight that one could have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do but at the time I felt it was the honorable and right thing to do. Reporter: The 59-year-old maintains despite multiple visits to several of Epstein's homes he never saw any indication of unlawful conduct involving underage girls. Virginia Roberts Giuffre say she was one of Epstein's teenage tex slaves and claimed Epstein ordered her to have sex with some of his powerful friends including on three occasions prince Andrew. Twice with she was just 17. All accused have denied the allegations. You don't remember meeting her. No. Reporter: The prince categorically denying he ever had sex with Giuffre after this now infamous picture of the two together, the prince says he doesn't remember it being taken and says it could be a fake. 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. So it's very difficult to be able to prove it. But I don't remember that photograph ever being taken. Reporter: Andrew claims on the date of one of their alleged encounters he was with his daughter. On that particular day, I was at home, I was with the children, I had taken Beatrice to a piazza express in woking for a party. Why would you remember that so specifically? Why would you remember a piazza express birthday and being at home? Because going to piazza express in woking is an unusual thing for me to do. A very unusual thing for me to do. She was very specific about that night. She described dancing with you. No. And you profusely sweating and that she went on to have -- There's a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition is that I don't sweat or I didn't sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenaline in the falklands war when I was shot at and it was almost impossible for me to sweat andette only because I've done a number of things in the recent past that I'm starting to be able to do that again. Now, one person coming to prince Andrew's defense his former wife Sarah Ferguson writing I am with him every step of the way, robin. Eva, thank you very much. Joining us is Emily maitlis, the presenter for bbc "Newsnight" who conducted that interview with prince Andrew. Emily, thank you very much for joining us this morning. We know that these accusations -- thank you. That these accusations against the prince have been around since about 2015. Why do you think he decided to do the interview with you now? My sense is that there were plenty of things that prince Andrew wanted to be talking about, whether it was his work with entrepreneur, his charitable work and royal duties and wasn't able to get on with any of that whilst the questions surrounded him with his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and his own sexual conduct. When we saw the death of Epstein in August and saw the scale and breadth of his exploitation and abuse and started hearing from many of the girl, the women coming forward and telling their stories for the first time there was an intensification, certainly there was a sense that it was something that he wanted to address and to be fair, he put himself through a full hour of scrutiny with no holds barred. There were no red lines around what we were allowed to ask and I think he felt that if he submitted to fairly intensive rigorous questioning from "Newsnight," then it would clear the air and allow him to start talking about other things once and for all. You did. You were very direct with him and asked him many questions that people wanted answered. Did the queen, did she approve of her son sitting down for this interview, do you know? I wasn't told that directly, but I was told when we discussed it that he would have to seek higher approval, permission and we waited 12 hours probably until that approval came, so my sense is that if he was prince Andrew and he was seeking approval from on high, it's hard to imagine who else that would come from if not from the queen herself. Certainly the fact that we filmed in Buckingham palace, in the south drawing room right by the queen's entrance, the marble hall where a lot of the knighthood, the awards are given out, it's hard to think that we would have been allowed to conduct that interview right in the heart of Buckingham palace if her majesty the queen hadn't -- if not given permission at least approved. You'll remember Diana, princess of Wales' interview a couple of decades ago. That wasn't dodge near the palace, it was done in secret in a hotel far away or away from London and this was definitely done in the heart of the palace of the royal establishment so one has to assume that it came with a certain amount of authority from the queen herself. You would think so. Final question, your take on the reaction to your interview with the prince. It's been quite overwhelming to be honest. It's been as you can imagine quite a weekend that we've been on a sort of adrenaline high at the moment and I think there has been a lot of pouring over what he's said and what he meant and all the new information that's come out and this is the extraordinary thing for us. The level of detail he went into, the new lead, the places he sent us for further inquiry on investigation but my sense is that when people step back from this and say actually what you got here was something remarkable because you'll know as well as I do that we speak to a sort of bland interviewees over the course of our morning's work, our evening's work. A lot of people who have pr to distraction so they say nothing, reveal nothing, their whole intention of coming on is to give very little of themselves and I think people might step back from this when the headlines have died down and say, well, you've got prince Andrew at his most authentic. He might not have always used perfect words. I think probably some language in that interview he himself has pointed to would do differently if done again but got an unvarnished interview and in today's world that's something we as journalists should be pretty grateful for actually. You're the one who got that and we really appreciate you sharing some time with us this morning. All the best to you. My pleasure. Be well. Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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