Sam McAlister discusses Prince Beatrice in Andrew interview
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Newsnight producer Sam McAlister was invited onto Tuesday’s instalment of This Morning to discuss how she arranged the bombshell interview with Prince Andrew and journalist Emily Maitlis in 2019 which was recorded in Buckingham Palace. She claimed to ITV presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield the disgraced royal invited his daughter Princess Beatrice to the negotiation who ensured the interview was carried out.
Reflecting on how she secured the now-infamous interview, Sam revealed Andrew inviting his eldest daughter Beatrice was a “real curveball” for the production team.
Sam explained: “I turned up to the negotiation a little bit brassy and Prince Andrew said, ‘Oh by the way I have brought someone with me.’
“I thought it had to be a lawyer and then round the corner, Princess Beatrice appeared.
“Now the only thing worse than negotiating an interview with an alleged sex offender in a royal situation is doing so in front of his young daughter.”
Holly asked Sam if she felt awkward about the Princess being there and wondered how she did not “buckle”.
Sam candidly explained, “Beatrice was the difference between yes and no” for the interview going ahead so the team was “really attentive” to the Princess.
“I asked her tentative questions as she was just looking out for her dad,” the former lawyer added.
Phillip asked Sam how she reacted as Andrew started opening up on camera about his controversial relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and she admitted she “still can’t believe” his responses to this day.
“Who in their right mind would say that?” she said referring to the Prince’s answers which caused him to withdraw from his public roles in May 2020.
Sam said BBC broadcaster Emily did a “phenomenal job” as she was watching on “trying not to laugh” and wondering if someone was going to pull the plug on the interview.
When Holly asked what the reaction was in the palace following the explosive interview, Sam explained: “I have to say [the palace’s team] behaved unbelievably.
“We got to the end and it was clear there was a real parting of ways between the journalists and the royals.
“He thought it went well, and the pictures you saw afterwards of those striding shots with Emily were taken after that interview from hell.”
Sam added: “After the interview, he said, ‘Well Beatrice, let’s go upstairs and have a chat with mum about this.’
“In my head, I am thinking, ‘For goodness sake, you are 59 years old, what are you doing, you are a grown man.’
“Then suddenly your brain connects and you think, ‘Oh my goodness, [his mother] is the Queen.'”
Sam went on to describe Andrew as a “bomb waiting to go off” and claimed he wanted to speak out about the allegations.
“He thought he would explain himself and I think he thought it would all go away,” she exclaimed.
She added: “I think he prepped, I don’t know if he got legal advice, but he is a man who has been told he is incredible his whole life.
“He thinks he is going to do an amazing job and it is difficult to tell a member of the royal family not to do it.”
This Morning airs on weekdays from 10am on ITV.
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