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article imageNewspaper claims duchess offered to sell access to ex-husband

By Andrew John     May 23, 2010 in World
A British Sunday newspaper is claiming that Sarah, Duchess of York – ex-wife of the Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew – has been filmed offering to sell access to her former husband for £500,000 (US$723,000).
The racy tabloid News of the World claims that the duchess – Sarah Ferguson – was approached by one of its reporters who posed as a businessman.
“She appears to accept a $40,000 cash payment, and is quoted as saying: ‘Look after me and he’ll look after you,’ ” reports the BBC on the newspaper claims.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is a trade envoy for the UK and is said to have known nothing about the deal.
“According to the video soundtrack,” says the BBC, “the duchess tells the undercover reporter ‘£500,000 when you can, to me, open doors’.
“She also says the cash would ‘open up all the channels whatever you need, whatever you want, and then that’s what [sic] and then you meet Andrew and that’s fine. And that’s, that’s when you really open up whatever you want.’ ”
The tabloid claims that Ferguson told the undercover reporter: “Look after me and he’ll look after you . . . you’ll get it back tenfold. I can open any door you want.”
The duchess says that Prince Andrew, who has been the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment since 2001, “never does accept a penny for anything” and, says the BBC, she “describes him as ‘completely whiter than white’.”
She claimed she had financial hardship. “I have not got a bean to my name. I’m a taxpayer, a British taxpayer and I left the royal family for freedom and in freedom it means I am bereft. I’m hopeless.”
Ferguson and Andrew met in 1986 and they two daughters, Princesses Beatrice in 1988 and Eugenie in 1990.
They separated in 1992, but Ferguson and their daughters later moved back into a wing of the former marital home and maintain a close relationship with Prince Andrew.
Sarah Margaret Ferguson, 50, is known as Sarah, Duchess of York, because the title the Duchess of York is reserved for the wives of peers. The first name plus title is used by ex-wives of peers.
Andrew and Sarah had a high-profile wedding in 1986 and similarly high-profile divorce ten years later. After that, she could no longer use the title Royal Highness.
Ferguson is a charity patron and spokeswoman, as well as writer and film producer and television personality.
Like her namesake Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United Football Club, she’s always been known as Fergie among friends and by the British media.
Her daughters, Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York, are fifth and sixth in line to the British throne.
During the period from before her marriage to the present day she has gone through the four titles Miss Sarah Ferguson; Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York; Her Royal Highness Sarah, Duchess of York; and, now, Sarah, Duchess of York.
Although she can no longer use the title Her Royal Highness, she did do so for a while after her divorce. But in 1996 “letters patent” – a legal instrument issued by a government or monarch – were issued that removed the title from divorced ex-wives of princes.
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