PRINCE Andrew's aides were "happy" with his Newsnight interview until they saw the public's reaction, Emily Maitlis has said.
The Duke of York, 60, was grilled over his links with dead paedo Jeffrey Epstein in an unprecedented interview in November.
Ms Maitlis said the Palace's "shock" was in the reaction to the interview andnot the interview itself.
Speaking on Radio Times, Ms Maitlis said: "We know that the Palace was happy with the interview.
"We had plenty of engagement with them after it went out.
"I think their shock was not at the interview itself, but the reaction it caused in the days and weeks afterwards.”
Ms Maitlis said the "penny dropped" over the importance of the interview when she was in the editing suite.
She said: "We'd assumed that he'd want to show empathy to the victims or pin the blame on Jeffrey Epstein.
"We couldn't understand why he hadn't done that. We definitely thought he'd be spikier…"
The interview had been in the works for a year and Ms Maitlis said she knew they had something "explosive" within a few minutes of the interview.
She said: "First, he was tackling the subject matter head on.
"Secondly, the lack of apology or any real expression of regret told me that the prince still believed that his actions had broadly been the right ones.
"And thirdly, the level of detail was unlike anything I was expecting."
Andrew was pressed over being seen with the disgraced financier and staying at his home after Epstein had been released from an 18-month prison term for prostituting minors.
He was also confronted with Virginia Robert's allegations that she was forced to sleep with him three times when she was 17 – which he has always strongly denied.
The public fallout from the interview saw Prince Andrew step back from public duties after he was heavily criticised for failing to show empathy for Epstein's alleged victims.
Prince Andrew has stayed out of the public eye, including at his own daughter's wedding.
The father-of-the-bride was left out Princess Beatrice's wedding photos last week.
Two photos were sent out by Buckingham Palace — one featured the Princess and her new husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi while the other showed the newlyweds with the Queen and Prince Philip.
The Duke has also faced renewed pressure to come forward and be interviewed over Epstein after his friend Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on July 2.
She’s now been charged with child grooming offences linked to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking ring.
Prince Andrew's legal team have stressed they have made three offers to help US prosecutors.
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