BBC Producer Reveals "Curveball Moment" Before Prince Andrew's Notorious 2019 Interview

The incident involved another member of the royal family.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends the Endurance event on day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor Great Park on May 12, 2017 in Windsor, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the premiere of Scoop—a Netflix film recounting the notorious 2019 BBC Newsnight interview with Prince Andrew regarding his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein—a BBC producer is opening up about a "curveball of curveballs" moment that occurred during a meeting prior to the shocking sit-down.

"That meeting was just extraordinary, because obviously, you prep so much for a meeting of this importance, in Buckingham Palace, negotiating for an interview that was now the most sought-after conversation in journalism. And there was a real curveball moment," producer Sam McAlister said in an exclusive interview with People.

"We had been going to meet Prince Andrew and his chief of staff, Amanda Thirsk—played by Keeley Hawes in our movie—and then curveball of curveballs, he brought someone with him," McAlister continued. "Now, I'm thinking it's going to be a lawyer or a comms person and things are going to be over. But in fact, it was his daughter, Princess Beatrice."

Prince Andrew, Duke of York stands with his daughter, Princess Beatrice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 17, 2006.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York stands with his daughter, Princess Beatrice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 17, 2006.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

McAlister said she had previously "prepared to do this incredibly important negotiation" prior to the interview—an interview that ultimately led to the late Queen Elizabeth stripping Prince Andrew of his military titles and patronages and the Duke of York stepping away from public life as a royal.

As a result of Prince Andrew bringing Princess Beatrice to the pre-interview negotiation, the producer told People she had to discuss "sensitive and difficult subjects in front of his young daughter," which took what she described as an "already extraordinary experience" to the "next level."

"Nothing prepares you for a professional experience like that," she continued. "And even though it was something that I like to think I was pretty adept at, we really were all out of our depth in Buckingham Palace, sitting just across from him and his daughter."

Prince Andrew, Duke of York attends the Endurance event on day 3 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor Great Park on May 12, 2017 in Windsor, England.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The interview ultimately took place on Nov. 14, 2019, in the South Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, between Prince Andrew and journalist Emily Maitlis. The pair discussed the Duke of York's links to Epstein and allegations that he had sexually assaulted a minor, Virginia Guiffre, when she was 17.

During the interview, Prince Andrew denied Giuffre's allegations that he had spent time with her in a nightclub prior to the assault, insisting that at the time of the alleged incident he had "taken Beatrice to a Pizza Express" for a "party" at "four or five in the afternoon."

He also described Epstein's home as a "convenient place to stay."

In 2022, Prince Andrew settled with Giuffree out of court, paying an undisclosed financial settlement and officially ending the civil case levied against him.

"It was one of those amazing things—that usually as a producer, what happens is you spend time talking to somebody before the cameras start rolling and they're sensational, and the second the cameras come on, it becomes very bland," McAlister told People in regards to the bombshell interview. "This was the one time that didn't happen.

"The experience for me was like things just kept getting higher and higher in terms of the stakes, and it was just extraordinary to hear all of that on camera. Because we'd heard some of it in private in a small room in Buckingham Palace a couple of days earlier, but to hear him say it for the world to see was the most shocking part of all, in a sense," she continued. "It was unimaginable, some of the answers that he gave in public. And, of course, the public reaction told us that the public did not think that those answers were credible or good."

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.