Janet Street Porter defended Prince Andrew over his ‘car crash’ Newsnight interview, after he attempted to clear up his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
During an appearance on Loose Women, the 72-year-old opened up about the backlash, explaining he ‘did his best’.
‘I looked at that interview, it was like a car crash, it was dreadful,’ she told the ITV panel. ‘But I think he did his best.
‘I actually sat next to Prince Andrew at a dinner and talked to him for quite a long time.
‘I thought he was a really pleasant person, but not the brightest lightbulb in the box.’
She also took a second to slam the businesses who have announced they are thinking of pulling out of sponsorship for the charities he works with – after KPMG bosses confirmed they were backing out of his mentorship scheme.
‘I do think sponsors pulling out of his very good charities is pretty shabby,’ she continued.
‘Those charities help people starting up businesses, and they help young people. And for those sponsors like KPMG to announce today they’re thinking of pulling out, is shocking.’
Despite branding the appearance a ‘blunder’, Janet praised Prince Andrew’s skills as a dad to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie – whom he shares with Sarah Ferguson.
‘Whatever we might criticise Prince Andrew for, and there’s a lot to criticise him for, he has been an extraordinarily good father,’ she added.
The Royal appeared in a shocking Newsnight interview on Saturday night, where he was forced to answer questions on his close friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
During the programme, Andrew, questioned by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, twice stated his relationship with the financier, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some ‘seriously beneficial outcomes’, giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy.
Virginia Roberts – now named Virginia Giuffre – is one of 16 women who says she was abused and trafficked by Epstein and claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince three times between 2001 and 2002, when she was underage.
When faced with the allegations, he said one encounter at Tramp club in London in 2001 did not happen as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to Pizza Express in Woking for a party.
He also refuted her claims that he was ‘profusely sweating’ on the night she alleges they met in Tramp, as he was medically unable to perspire at the time.
Speaking about their friendship, Andrew, who had been photographed with Epstein in Central Park after the businessman had been convicted for the prostitution of minors in 2010, said he’d ‘let the side down’ by maintaining the friendship.
The Duke claimed he had met Epstein in New York to end the friendship, stating: ‘I stayed with him … and that’s the bit that …
‘I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices.
‘I let the side down, simple as that.’
Loose Women continues on weekdays, at 12.30, on ITV.
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