Most of the front pages are filled with pictures of Prince Andrew being interrogated by Emily Maitlis about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein for this evening’s BBC Newsnight special.
“TV grilling for prince at palace” is the headline in the Daily Express, while the Daily Mail says he was “machine-gunned” with questions about everything from his family to his sex life in “excruciating detail”.
The Daily Mirror says Buckingham Palace is braced “for a potential backlash” over the interview, after months of issuing strong denials over the scandal involving the Duke of York’s links to the disgraced financier, Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in prison in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Royal sources tell the Daily Telegraph that Prince Andrew decided to grant the BBC access in the hope it might “draw a line” under the affair before his 60th birthday next year.
The paper adds that he reportedly overruled aides who thought it was a bad idea to go in front of the cameras.
The i newspaper describes it as a huge but necessary gamble amid despair among the duke’s closest supporters that his response to the allegations has been “inept”.
The motives behind Prince Andrew’s decision to speak to the BBC are explored in the inside pages.
“This is more than just an air-clearing exercise,” writes Richard Kay in the Daily Mail. “It is the act of a gambler – and the stakes could not be higher”.
More adults living with parents
Official figures featured in the Guardian show that record numbers of young adults in the UK are living with their parents.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 3.5 million 20 to 34-year-olds are still living at home – about one million more than 20 years ago.
Over the same period, average house prices have nearly tripled from £97,000 to £288,000.
Campaign group Generation Rent tells the paper that young people are facing an “impossible choice: either stay in your childhood bedroom in the hope you can save a deposit – or rent and face a struggle to put money aside”.
The Financial Times reports that the former head of the advertising giant, WPP – Sir Martin Sorrell – was allegedly involved in an altercation with a former protege at a conference in Lisbon last week.
The paper claims that Sir Martin slapped the face of Jim Prior, who had made unflattering comments about his new business venture in the Press last year.
In text messages sent to an FT reporter, Sir Martin insists that he did “not slap” Mr Prior as suggested – describing the exchange as “very brief, with no injuries or complaints on either side”.
Mr Prior confirmed the two men had met – but would not comment further. WPP said it had spoken to Sir Martin about the alleged incident.
According to the Guardian, the price of crisps and chips could rise sharply in the new year as the flooding seen in the north of England over the past week hits the supply of winter vegetables such as potatoes.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board says there are “increasing reports of crops being abandoned” in areas such as South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, where farmers have been counting the cost of the deluge.
The British Growers Association says the brassica harvest has also been badly affected – with sodden ground making it difficult to get cauliflowers and cabbages off the fields.
The Times reports that the de facto chairman of the People’s Vote campaign for another EU referendum has resigned, after weeks of fierce internal wrangling about its direction.
The millionaire businessman, Roland Rudd launched what was described as a boardroom “coup” last month, ousting two senior staff – James McGrory and Tom Baldwin – in a move that prompted mass staff walkouts.
One source tells the paper that Mr Rudd’s departure may just be “window dressing” and workers would not return until a deal aimed at getting the campaign “back on track” had been signed off.
The group isn’t expected to appoint a new chairman until after the general election.
Greggs boss ‘goes vegan’
Several papers including the Daily Mirror report that the chief executive of Greggs the bakers – famous for its sausage rolls – is going vegan.
Roger Whiteside says he was inspired to make the change after watching a documentary on Netflix but was doing so for health rather than environmental reasons.
Greggs launched a vegan version of its sausage roll – to mixed reviews – at the start of the year.
Finally, several papers including the Sun and the Times says a rail passenger with a standard season ticket has been fined for having one foot in a first class carriage.
Fellow commuters took to social media to defend the woman, who was stopped by an inspector on a packed train travelling from London to Clacton in Essex on Wednesday.
The operator, Greater Anglia, said the woman had been informed there was more space available further down the train – and that first class carriages are for the use of first class ticket holders only.