Unless you’ve managed to stay far, far away from the Sunday papers, not to mention almost the entire internet, it’s unlikely you’ll have avoided news of Prince Andrew’s “disastrous” TV interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis.
Over the course of an hour, the senior royal was questioned about his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein - who he remained associated with and even visited after Epstein’s release from a prison sentence for prostituting minors.
The Duke of York himself has been the centre of allegations, after one of the 16 women who came forward against Epstein – Virginia Giuffre – said she had been forced to have sex with him aged 17.
Andrew has consistently denied Giuffre’s claims and a US civil court struck off the allegations as “immaterial and impertinent”.
His appearance, broadcast on Saturday night, has been widely criticised as showing a lack of remorse for his association with Epstein, amongst a barrage of rather startled reactions to a series of alibis he provided, including – but not limited to – a visit to a Pizza Express in Woking and a medical inability to sweat.
Co-leader of the Green Party, Sian Berry said “it wasn’t a very empathetic” interview, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It is really important that people at all levels have to answer questions to allegations like this.
“The #metoo movement has thrown up so many instances of women being sexually abused by men in positions of power and when there are allegations like this they do need answering and now here someone is.”
She added: “I think they [the royal family] need to be as accountable as anybody else, I think it’s right that he has answered these questions and although I wasn’t particularly convinced.
“I think we need to hear more from him on this as well… it wasn’t a very empathetic interview… I think he should have been more apologetic and taken more responsibility.”
Of course, the response to the interview online was almost instantaneous – particularly when Andrew’s responded took rather a turn for the bizarre.
Pizza Express Woking got an unexpected publicity boost (whether they wanted it or not)
As one of the interview’s more surreal moments, it’s little surprise that Andrew’s alibi of being in a Pizza Express in Woking at the time he was accused of meeting 17-year-old Giuffre for sex attracted significant attention online.
"I was shot at in the Falklands War, so he couldn't sweat, and I remember the dates of all the times I've ever been to Pizza Express in Woking" is a remarkable set of alibis.— Chris Cook (@xtophercook) November 16, 2019
Thoughts with the Mail on Sunday junior reporter currently in a taxi en route to Pizza Express in Woking #PrinceAndrew— Martyn McLaughlin (@MartynMcL) November 16, 2019
Look. The reviews of the Pizza Express at Woking are very, very good. pic.twitter.com/2r4IptdAwc— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) November 16, 2019
"You should try Pizza Express in Woking.....it's unforgettable" pic.twitter.com/cVpnjeIs8k— Captain Kidd (@kidd__kong78) November 16, 2019
Viewers were branding the interview a “car crash” before the programme had even finished
Thanks to the internet, viewers could express their shock in real-time – even as the programme was being broadcast the interview was widely branded a “car crash”, with social media users shocked by the manner in which the discussion unfurled:
#PrinceAndrew how not to draw a line in the sand and move on. For any student of public relations watch this interview.. I’d call it doing all the wrong things really well. Astonishing hubris! I’ve never watched a slow motion car crash until now— Mark Borkowski (@MarkBorkowski) November 16, 2019
I'm truly so shocked that my brain is saying "you didn't just see or hear what you think you just saw and heard".... #PrinceAndrew— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) November 16, 2019
So where can I watch that car crash again just to check? 😳😱🤔
Car crash. #PrinceAndrew has only mentioned the word “honourable” in connection with a convicted sex offender and abuser - wtf. Nothing, zero, about the poor girls. What a total and utter ****. If you’re a charity and he’s your patron, get rid. #shameless Great work @maitlis pic.twitter.com/ZhbqWWXNLY— Jane Haynes 🌈⚡️ (@JaneRockHouse) November 16, 2019
A lawyer warned that his comments “could one day be used against him:
Anna Rothwell, from the criminal law firm Corker Binning, said she would “never advise” her clients to speak publicly about their allegations if they were under investigation.
In fact, she described Andrew’s attempt to try to publicly defend his reputation as “pretty disastrous”.
“I think talking full stop in circumstances where you are under investigation is unwise,” Ms Rothwell told the PA news agency.
“He didn’t have a full answer for quite a number of aspects he was questioned about.
“Anything he has said, if he were to be prosecuted, could be used to cross-examine him.
“The less you say, the better, and that is often why you advise people to answer ‘no comment’ at the police station.”
A fair bit of shock – and questions about why exactly the royal had agreed in the first place
absolutely astonishing that Prince Andrew openly admits he doesn’t regret being friends with a sex trafficker because that sex trafficker was “actually very useful” to him personally and professionally . he doesn’t even see anything wrong with that statesment pic.twitter.com/CeJV4DJysd— anna leszkiewicz (@annaleszkie) November 17, 2019
Gonna watch the #PrinceAndrewInterview again because I’m not sure I heard every part of it over the sound of my jaw thudding on the floorboards.— Mitten d'Amour (@MittenDAmour) November 17, 2019
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.