LONDON    -   Prince Andrew has faced widespread criticism for doing a BBC interview, described as “a car-crash and a disaster”.

Royal experts and others queried his decision to talk about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The Duke of York also denied having sex on three separate occasions with a then 17-year-old girl - Virginia Giuffre.

A lawyer for some of Epstein’s alleged victims urged the prince to talk under oath to the US authorities. Former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter described the interview as “excruciating”.

“The interview was an opportunity to clear his name and rescue his reputation. It has failed, badly.”

For several months the Duke of York had been facing questions over his ties to Epstein - an American financier who, at the age of 66, took his own life while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Prince Andrew “categorically” denied having a sexual contact with Virginia Giuffre known at the time as Virginia Roberts.

Asked about the prince’s decision to be interviewed by BBC, Mr Arbiter said he thought many questions would be asked in Buckingham Palace. He said: “They will be wondering: Was this the right decision? Was the right decision made? Who made the decision to put him on? Did he make it himself or did he seek advice within the Palace?

“My guess is that he bulldozed his way in and decided he was going to do it himself without any advice.

“Any sensible-thinking person in the PR business would have thrown their hands up in horror at the very suggestion that he puts himself up in front of a television camera to explain away his actions and his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.”

Mr Arbiter said he believed the interview would have an impact on the Duke of York’s relationships with various charities.

Ahead of Saturday’s interview, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson wrote of her support for him on social media. She said: “I am deeply supportive and proud of this giant of a principled man, [who] dares to put his shoulder to the wind and stands firm with his sense of honour and truth.”

But other royal experts also questioned the prince’s decision to speak so publicly about his relationship with Epstein.

Royal biographer Angela Levin said she was gripped by the interview but felt it was “ill-judged” to offer insights into his life with Epstein. “Unfortunately it was a sign of his arrogance,” she said. “He has always been arrogant.

“The Queen’s motto is don’t complain don’t explain. I think in her heart she will be extremely embarrassed. “I know for a fact Prince Andrew does not listen to his advisers.

“A very senior member of the press team left suddenly two weeks ago and the implication is he would not have approved of what Prince Andrew did.”

Another royal biographer, Catharine Mayer, spent time with Prince Andrew in 2004 in China on a trade mission and said the interview was “terrible because it erased the victims of Epstein”.

“It was as bad as I expected,” she said. “Probably worse. “He did not mention those women once.”