It’s fair to say that everyone who read or heard about Fergie’s – the Duchess of York’s – most recent escapade was both horrified and titillated at her audacity, not to mention tackiness.
It’s also fair to say that anyone who thinks about it should be disgusted at the News of the World’s sting operation — having a reporter posing as a businessman and paying her the equivalent of $40,000 (cash) as down payment for some $750,000 to get access to her ex-hubby, Prince Andrew, for a business deal.
Andrew is Britain’s special trade ambassador, whatever that is, and apparently can swing financial deals. High finance and business acumen are not Prince Andrew’s forte, so if Britain relies on his judgment, small wonder the U.K. is under financial strain.
Still, Fergie’s antics are fodder for lively office gossip.
While there is no denying her greed, self-indulgence and lack of discretion, a more scandalous reality is the shamefully cheap settlement Fergie got when she and Andrew were divorced – 15,000 pounds a year as maintenance (about $40,000).
The Royal family’s pettiness and cheapness when it comes to money is legendary. For the duchess to raise two daughters on that amount from the richest family in the world, is disgraceful.
Sure, Fergie could have gotten more if she’d raised hell at the time of the settlement, but that’s not the point. How could the Royal Family not have been more generous? Andrew doesn’t seem a vindictive type, and supposedly was friendly with his ex-wife, so why wouldn’t he insist on a more reasonable annual settlement?
While perpetually hungry for a buck, Fergie hasn’t done badly in the money game. Poster gal for Weight Watchers, writer, producer of films, she is not without talent or enterprise. She just seems incapable of saving, and spends everything she gets and is now said to be pushing bankruptcy with debts around $1.25 million.
Apparently Fergie stays at her ex-husband’s Royal Lodge, and has been quoted saying she now fears she’ll be kicked out, with no place to go. That taxes credulity, but there’s no question she, the Queen, Fergie’s Royal relatives and the British people are mortified at the crassness of her behavior.
But it’s unlikely Fergie will be ostracized by the Queen. After all, Fergie’s daughters are the Queen’s grandkids and they’ve done nothing wrong.
Of course, Fergie is now penitent and is apologizing all over the place. One wonders if her “regrets” are that she was caught, or that she behaved dishonorably?
It’s rather like Tiger Woods apologizing after he’s been discovered having affairs with something like 120 women – one of which, apparently, was intended to be Fergie herself, but he declined – possibly because she was too high profiled, or possibly because she wasn’t blonde enough.
Despite everything, Fergie is popular. Ironically, people seem to like her because of her lapses, her human foibles. She’s gritty, is involved with various charities, is open to try anything, and doesn’t seem to have a malicious streak. Just an erratic one.
Besides, her unpredictability is infectious and as a topic of conversation she’s hard to top. But I bet her annual maintenance fee will now be boosted. Still Royal stinginess is the real scandal of her influence peddling.