London — The fallout from Prince Andrew’s controversial TV interview about his friendship with convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein was still intensifying on Thursday morning, five days after it aired. On Wednesday the prince made the stunning announcement that he was stepping back from his royal duties.
But as Andrew appeared briefly Thursday morning for the first time since the explosive interview, giving a wave from his car as he left home, Buckingham Palace was still facing growing pressure from the U.S. for the queen’s son to reveal anything he knows about his former friend.
CBS News correspondent Imtiaz Tyab said attorneys for Epstein’s victims have said Andrew could have to provide depositions, documents and possibly even face trial himself in the U.S. over his relationship with the disgraced American financier. Epstein was found dead in his New York jail cell earlier this year as he awaited trial on child trafficking charges.
“It’s totally extraordinary,” Ingrid Seward, veteran royal watcher and editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine told Tyab on Thursday. “You don’t expect a member of the royal family to be caught up in the life of a seedy pedophile. You just don’t.”
The scandal is so extraordinary that the prince had to make the unprecedented announcement that his own mother, Queen Elizabeth II, had given him “permission” to walk away from his official public duties for the “foreseeable future.”
The statement came after days of outrage over the interview he gave about his relationship with Epstein.
“You could not spend time around him and not know,” pushed BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis.
“I live in an institution at Buckingham Palace which has members of staff walking around all the time, and I don’t wish to appear grand but there were a lot of people who were walking around Jeffrey Epstein’s house. As far as I was aware, they were staff,” the prince said.
Several charities, companies and organizations the prince supports moved quickly this week to distance themselves from the prince, saying they were either reviewing or severing ties with the royal.
Andrew’s retreat from public life has raised questions about how he’ll fund his royal lifestyle.
“I think he won’t have to leave his royal residence. This is the queen’s son we’re talking about,” Seward told CBS News. But she said his annual “allowance” — about $300,000 — “will probably go,” as the prince’s official office would likely be moved out of Buckingham Palace.
Questions continue to swirl around Prince Andrew’s relationship with Virginia Roberts Guiffre, the woman seen in a photograph with him when she was just 17. Roberts Guiffre says she was forced to have sex with the prince at least three times, all at properties owned by Epstein.
Virginia Giuffre’s attorney Sigrid McCawley said in a statement on Thursday that Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein was only “half of the real story.”
McCawley did not explicitly call for Andrew to speak to U.S. law enforcement, but noted that he “clearly had a long term relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell,” a woman whom she said was “suspected of being Epstein’s co-conspirator and chiefly involved in the devastation brought upon countless women’s lives.”
In Prince Andrew’s statement announcing his withdrawal from public duties, he said he would cooperate with law enforcement officials, “if required.”
“I think he will have to be interviewed by the FBI and it won’t be laid to rest until we know the truth,” predicted Seward.
CBS News has learned that while the prince will no longer receive the publicly-funded annual allowance he has enjoyed for years, he will continue to get a private allowance from the queen, and will still attend official royal events.