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 The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.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
- Jennifer Aniston Loves The Bachelor Even When It's a "Train Wreck": "It's Great Junk Food"
- Melissa Rivers Files Multimillion Dollar Lawsuit Against NYC Clinic, Doctors Who Performed Surgery on Joan Rivers -- Get All the Details
- Juan Pablo Galavis Disses Andi Dorfman After Her Split From Josh Murray, Claims "It's OK"
- Lawyers: Melissa Rivers files malpractice lawsuit in mother Joan's death
- Benedict Cumberbatch: I'm sorry for saying 'colored'
- Report: Emile Hirsch fights with female film exec
- Victoria's Secret Debuts Steamy Full-Length Super Bowl Ad—Watch the Sexy Video!
- Keira Knightley Doesn't Care Much for Fashion Trends: If Wearing a F--king Flowerpot on Your Head Makes You Happy, Do It!
- Kim Kardashian Flashes Side Boob While Squeezing Her Curves Into Balmain Sample Sizes: See the Pics