Fergie 'Devastated' After Pay-for-Access Sting
The tabloid News of the World posted video on its website that appears to show Ferguson discussing payment terms. She is heard to say "500,000 pounds ($724,000) when you can, to me, open doors."
Asked if she was referring to the prince, she said: "Yeah."
Later in the conversation, Fergie tells the reporter that "If you want to go and then if we want to do a big deal with Andrew, then that's the big one ... You send it to the bank account that I tell you to send it to."
Andrew is an international British trade ambassador. The newspaper said he knew nothing of the meeting.
The report is embarrassing, but there is no suggestion Ferguson did anything illegal.
PopEater's Rob Shuter, who has known Ferguson for years, says the scandal doesn't seem to fit her character.
"I saw the Duchess 2 months ago in New York City and she was in great spirits," Shuter said, saying that people should "not rush to judgment" just yet.
"Sarah spends more time raising money for charities than anyone I know," Shuter contends. "She is extremely protective about Prince Andrew and her children -- that's what makes this tape even more shocking. We have only seem an edited tape ... often careful editing can paint a picture that isn't always true."
Ferguson's spokeswoman, Kate Waddington, confirmed the recording was authentic. She said the duchess was "devastated" and regretted the embarrassment she had caused.
"Sarah is a smart woman but can sometimes get confused. I'm hoping that's what is happening right now," Shuter says.
Ferguson married Andrew, who is fourth in line to the throne, in 1986. They had two children, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, before divorcing in 1996.
Since then Ferguson has written children's books, made television documentaries and acted as a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers.
She also has struggled financially and has complained that her divorce settlement was stingy.
Recently the company set up to manage her U.S. career in publishing, public speaking and media work, Hartmoor LLC, collapsed with debts of around $1 million.
Buckingham Palace said it does not speak for Ferguson, who is no longer a member of the royal family, and would not comment on the story.
Ferguson was flying Sunday to Los Angeles, where she is scheduled to receive an award for her charity work.
2009 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
PopScene: Weeks Hottest Pics
- Jennifer Aniston
- Paris Hilton
Kate Middleton is officially a princess. She walked the aisle in an Alexander...
According to Denise, she's not sure that her estranged ex is completely sober....
Popeater Hot Topics
- Jeremy Roloff Marries Audrey Mirabella Botti: Little People, Big World Wedding Photo
- Polly Bergen Dead: Actress and Singer Dies at 84
- George Clooney Will Wear Giorgio Armani Tux to Wed Amal Alamuddin
- New Shocker: Bruce Jenner Appears To Wear Spanx For Golf Outing SEE The Jaw-Dropping Photos
- Kim's Worst Nightmare: Racy Naked Selfies Of Kardashian Leak Online
- Polly Bergen, versatile actress, singer dies at 84
- Report: Avril Lavigne and Nickelback's Chad Kroeger are splitting up
- Lady Gaga says she's 'very happy' and sober
- 6 Things We Were Obsessed With While Watching Beyoncé and Jay Z's On the Run HBO Special
- Pregnant Zoe Saldana Pole Dances at the Airport With Husband Marco Perego—See the Hilarious Video!
- Little People, Big World Star Jeremy Roloff Marries Audrey Botti—Get the Details on Their Farm Wedding!