A public relations adviser to Britain's Prince Andrew urged him not to go ahead with a BBC interview on his links to late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, broadcaster ITV reports.
Jason Stein confirmed to ITV News that Andrew overruled his advice not to grant the interview, saying he later left his role at Buckingham Palace by mutual agreement.
Most British media and many commentators said the 60-minute interview, aired late on Saturday, was disastrous, while one leading publicist called it a "car crash".
BBC presenter Emily Maitlis questioned Andrew, 59, on claims by a woman who said he forced her to have sex with him while she was a teenager allegedly held in "sexual servitude" by Epstein.
Andrew said he had "no recollection" of meeting Virginia Roberts - now named Virginia Giuffre - who said she was forced to have sex three times with Andrew, including when she was 17.
Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, admitted that his most recent stay with Epstein in 2010, shortly after the late financier had completed his prison sentence, was not "becoming of a member of the royal family" and had "let the side down".
Epstein, who died in jail while facing sex trafficking charges, had some "seriously beneficial outcomes", giving him the opportunity to meet people and prepare for a future role as a trade envoy, Andrew said, but denied meeting Giuffre.
"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," Andrew said.
Asked again to clarify whether he remembered meeting Giuffre, he replied: "No."
On one date in 2001 mentioned by Giuffre, Andrew said he had been at a pizza restaurant with his family.
In a front-page headline, the popular Mail on Sunday tabloid said Andrew had uttered "not one word of remorse" in the interview as viewers watched him "squirm".
The rival Sunday Mirror said Andrew showed "no sweat... and no regret".
Its headline mocked Andrew's claim that Giuffre's account of meeting him must be inaccurate because it referred to him sweating and he did not sweat at that time due to a medical condition.
Mark Borkowski, a leading publicist, tweeted that Prince Andrew "[showed] how not to draw a line in the sand and move on".
"For any student of public relations watch this interview ... I'd call it doing all the wrong things really well," Borkowski wrote. "Astonishing hubris! I've never watched a slow motion car crash until now."
Celebrity lawyer Mark Stephens told The Guardian that Andrew's strategy "only works if you've got a complete and full answer to every possible question, and here there are too many loose ends".
"If he'd kept his silence he'd have been able to remain outside of the case, as he's a witness and is entitled to diplomatic immunity," Stephens said.
"He was a private individual and now he's waived that privacy."
He was defended by his ex-wife Sarah, the duchess of York, who tweeted: "Andrew is a true and real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness and goodness".
Australian Associated Press