Sarah Ferguson Taking Money for Access to Her Royal Ex-husband
The British royal family has seen its fair share of scandal, and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew's ex-wife, is no exception. In 2010, News of the World (before it was shut down in the phone hacking scandal) had reporter Mazher Mahmood pose as a businessman and meet with Fergie. He taped her offering him access to her ex-husband in exchange for 500,000 pounds (more than $720,000), as well as possible future payments, saying she could open doors for him and the access would pay him back tenfold. The fake businessman gave her a $40,000 cash down payment on tape and said he would wire the rest. Prince Andrew, who acts as representative for international trade and investment for Britain, apparently knew nothing about the situation. His lack of involvement was reiterated by both his office and his ex-wife after news of the scandal broke. The Duchess made a public apology for her lapse in judgment when the tape came to light.
She and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996 after ten years of marriage. She was reportedly in debt to the tune of over $4 million at the time of her divorce, and nearly $1 million after her U.S. company Hartmoor LLC went under in 2009. She only receives around $20,000 a year as part of her divorce settlement. At the time of the scandal, she was living in Prince Andrew's home, Royal Lodge, near Windsor Castle. Aside from her royal marriage, she is also known for her charity work, writing children's books and her former role as spokesperson for Weight Watchers.