Duchess of York Admits to Accepting Money to Set Up Meeting With Prince Out of Financial Desperation

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Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

"I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused. It is true that my financial situation is under stress," said Sarah, Duchess of York, after getting caught in a humiliating ambush by the British tabloid News of the World. "However, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment and I am very sorry that this has happened."

What happened was pretty straightforward: A tabloid journalist disguised as a "rich businessman" lured Ferguson out to dinner and then back to his apartment, where he seemingly gave her $40,000 as a down payment in a $750,000 deal for her to arrange a meeting between him and Fergie's ex-husband, Prince Andrew. The whole exchange was caught on film.

"If you want to meet him in your business, look after me and he’ll look after you," she said, according to the tabloid. "I can open any door you want." (Fergie stressed that Andrew himself could not and would not accept money.) According to the Times this morning, despite Fergie's embarrassed statement this weekend, she hasn't yet said she'll return the $40,000.

Duchess of York Stung in Influence-Peddling Video [NYT]