Duchess of York Sells Access to Royal Ex-Husband

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Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, apparently attempted to sell access to her former husband Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II. The attempt was caught on tape in a sting operation by British publication News of the World. Ferguson allegedly asked for a $40,000 up-front fee, followed by a $724,000 deposit into her bank account, according to Fox News. Unsurprisingly, the British public's not too happy. The footage has even sparked some reaction in the U.S. There are a few willing to defend the scandal-prone duchess in the media, but the condemnations have generally been swift and fierce.

  • Let's 'Try Some Word Association,' suggests The Telegraph's Melanie McDonagh. What are the first things that come to mind for a Brit familiar with the Duchess of York? "Shamelessness? Greed? Disingenuousness? ... It's hard to pick out the aspect of the great Fergie sting by the News of the World that says most about her. For me, it was probably the stupidity, closely followed by the self-denial."
  • Impressive Disaster  "Even in this instant 24/7 media age," comments Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice, "with always-operating cable news, weblogs, Twitter, and still lively tabloids in Great Britain and the United States it’s unusual to see such a total destruction of someone’s public image."
  • 'Shocked Even the Most Jaded Royal Watchers,' confirms MSNBC's Lester Holt.
  • Not Too Bright, Bless Her  "Poor woman. She is not evil or particularly greedy," decides Libby Purves in the Times of London, "but just, frankly, a bit of an idiot adrift in a world that is clever and laughs at her." Her impression of Sarah Ferguson:
an exuberant, impetuous, dim, kind-hearted girl who in her 51st year should be safely stashed under some woodwormy beams in the shires, with an amiable lunkhead husband and a houseful of labradors, saddles and hilarious novelty ornaments, blamelessly raising money for the local hospice and cooking hearty lasagnes. Sarah Ferguson was just not born to be looked at and judged by millions of strangers, or to racket around the world like Becky Sharp: to put it kindly, she's not very sharp at all.
  • Queen Should Have Seen This Coming  The Guardian's James Whitaker thinks Ferguson should have gotten more money in her divorce (the Queen controlled the purse strings there). Even though the duchess once had plenty of income from her associations with Weightwatchers and Wedgewood china, he says, "she has spent more and she no longer represents either organisation." He decides that "like any desperate person, she will do almost anything to get her hands on some cash."
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