Fergie admits to Prince Andrew cash scandal, promptly cops charity award
We're betting that, on occasions such as this, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson doesn't mind being mistaken for a certain Black Eyed Peas singer. The royal redhead also known as Fergie has been caught in a messy sting accepting cash for access to ex-husband Prince Andrew.
In a bizarre sequence of events, a journalist from the British tabloid News of the World posed as a businessman hoping for an introduction to Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth, offering Fergie $40,000 cash with the promise of a wire transfer that would total around $750,000.
What's worse -- videotape of the transaction exists, showing Fergie smoking and sipping what appears to be red wine, offering the easy connection to the undercover reporter.
"Five hundred thousand pounds when you can, to me -- open doors," Ferguson says on the tape. "Look after me, and he'll look after you. You'll get it back tenfold. I can open any door you want."
The good: The Duchess insisted that Prince Andrew never accepts a dime under the table, and Scotland Yard has confirmed that Fergie's done nothing illegal by having the conversations.
The bad: It's a public relations nightmare, for which she's already issued an apology. "I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused. It is true that my financial situation is under stress.... I can confirm that the Duke of York was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred," she said in a statement.
Fergie surfaced in Hollywood last night at the Renaissance Hotel, where she accepted an award from Variety International for her philanthropic work with disabled and underprivileged children. She did not walk the red carpet.
-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson leaves the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood after receiving an award Sunday. Credit: Bret Hartman / Associated Press