I’m not sure what else you would say once you get busted on film soliciting and accepting bribes. But, after the news shot around the world that Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was selling access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, for £500,000, she has issued an apology.
Some papers are reporting that Sarah Ferguson is not only devastated by the scandal, but is suicidal as well. Though Sarah Ferguson has certainly had her share of troubles since becoming part of the royal family,soliciting and accepting a bribe is probably at the top of the list of her worst moments.
Sarah married Prince Andrew in 1986, shortly after Diana Spencer, who became Princess Diana, married Prince Charles. Unfortunately, the lively redhead never enjoyed the kind of popularity and acceptance by the British press that Princess Diana enjoyed and was often ridiculed for her weight and appearance and derided for her lack of social grace.
But, Sarah Ferguson always came off as a fun loving, down to earth kind of girl, who managed to bounce back and even brought a bit of warmth and humanity to the oft stodgy and priggish royal family. Those who knew them well said that Prince Andrew adored the duchess and lit up in her presence. Yet, the British press continued its harsh and relentless attacks on Sarah and eventually succeeded in making her life entirely miserable.
Seeking solace from the harsh and unfair treatment, Sarah retreated to food. Eventually her unhappiness manifested itself by a massive weight gain, with the duchess topping out at over 200 pounds. None of this, of course, did anything to help Sarah’s case with the British press and they continued to harangue her without mercy, dubbing her “The Duchess of Pork.”
In 1992, Sarah managed to do further damage to her public image when she was photographed with her financial adviser and American businessman, John Bryan, topless, having her toes sucked. But, in all fairness, by this time, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew were drifting apart and the marriage was already heading toward a divorce.
During the divorce in 1996, Sarah chose to forgo the advice of her attorney to fight the royal family for a lucrative financial settlement and accepted a small, yearly payment of £15,000 instead, hoping that in doing so, it would allow her remain in good standing with them.
Sarah’s modest gesture didn’t seem to help her much though, because her relationship with the royal family has been a frosty one ever since. It’s probably safe to say that offering access to Prince Andrew for £500,000 is not going to do much to thaw those relations any time soon either.
Though Sarah continues to be her own worst enemy when it comes to public relations, she’s certainly not the first member of the royal family who has blundered their way through an image crisis. Right, Charles and Camilla?
Hopefully, Sarah Ferguson will manage to rebound from this crisis as well as she has rebounded from others. And perhaps the good relationship she has continued to enjoy with Prince Andrew will buoy her in some way and help her to ride the waves of the storm.
In the meantime though, it might not be a bad idea for the royal family to consider raising Sarah’s yearly allowance. Just sayin’.