Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, in trouble again

LONDON—Sarah Ferguson was once considered a lively spark, just the thing to brighten up Britain’s staid royal family when she married Prince Andrew and became Duchess of York.

But in recent years, the brash redhead has found herself in trouble. She was the royal who struggled to control her weight and balance her checkbook—and often ended up in the tabloid newspapers for all the wrong reasons.

Though work in America improved her bank account and her image, Ferguson took a blow over the weekend when a Sunday tabloid reported that she had offered access to Andrew, Britain’s special representative for trade and investment, to an undercover reporter. Her price? Allegedly a half-million pounds ($724,000), with a $40,000 down payment.

The News of the World front page read “Fergie ‘sells’ Andy for 500k” and the story went global. Ferguson issued a statement apologizing for causing embarrassment and a “serious lapse in judgment” and said Andrew “was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred.”

Ferguson, 50 and the mother to two princesses, has said she never felt able to fulfill her role as a royal.

“The harder I pushed, the more things fell apart,” she wrote in her 1996 memoir, “My Story.”

“Even at my dizzy height of popularity, I knew that the clock would strike 12 and I’d be seen for what I was: unworthy, unattractive, unaccomplished. And finally, logically, undone.”

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