Just sorry? Oh, Sarah Margaret Ferguson, you've really done it this time. The British newspapers are frothing with delight at your latest escapade. The News of the Screws, to be blunt, screwed you big time. They laid a trap, and you fell for it. Were you inebriated? You were slurry your words .. and you were smoking! When did you take up smoking.
The tabloids and the broadsheets will provide the time lines and back story to what led you to sit down and accept cash in exchange for a meeting with Andrew. Andrew .. your former husband. HRH The Duke of York, second son of the Queen.
Everyone is going to rehash your life story, your problems with money, and how you ended up in debt to the tune of £2 million pounds .. and this was during your marriage.
Yes, you were able to work your way through the debts with plum assignments in America, including stints with Weight Watchers and Wedgwood. You got out of debt, but did you ever sit down with a financial adviser to prepare for your future. Obviously not!
It should be noted that Sarah's divorce settlement was in the range of £2 million. Most of settlement -£1.4 million was put into a trust fund to "ensure the financial security for the princesses." This left Sarah with £600,000, which meant that she would have to earn her own keep.
It's time to turn the clock back, and examine, albeit briefly, Sarah's early life.
She was born on October 15, 1959, the younger daughter of Ronald Ferguson and his first wife, Susan Wright. Sarah and her older sister, Jane, grew up at Dummer Down House, in Dummer, Hampshire. The family was comfortable, solid upper middle class, with impeccable family connections. Sarah has two lines of descent from Charles II. her paternal grandmother, Marian Montagu-Douglas-Scott, was the first cousin of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
Sarah's father, Ronald, served as the Prince of Wales' polo manager.
Sarah certainly suffered emotional upheavals in her life. In 1972, her mother bolted and ran off with an Argentine polo player. Sarah and Jane were left behind with their father, as Susan, bored with her life, put her relationship with Hector Barrantes before her role as mother to two impressionable daughters.
Ronald Ferguson was certainly not a good husband, and he, too, had his affairs, even after he remarried and became the father of three more children. He got caught in a prostitution sting.
Sarah was sent off to boarding school, where she made friends, but what did she learn? Not a lot, apparently. She completed her education, which was not very educating, and moved to London and attended secretarial school. She also found work as a chalet girl in Switzerland -- not very taxing -- and setting up a home with a race car drive, Paddy McNally, who was 22 years her senior, and a widower. He had no interest in marriage with Sarah. She didn't see the red flags.
In 1985, Prince Andrew re-entered her life ... they played together as children -- and it was love at first sight.
The couple were married on July 23, 1986 at Westminster Abbey. At first, Sarah was welcomed into the royal family as a breath of fresh air, but this air soon turned stifling as Sarah was unable to fit in, to accept her new role. Andrew, then a Royal Naval office, spent a lot of time away, and Sarah undertook royal duties, and giving birth to two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, in 1988 and 1990 respectively.
It is unlikely that Sarah had princess classes before she married into the royal family. She was expected to pull her weight from day one, but Sarah was unprepared for this, and she failed abysmally. In time, she strayed from the marriage, committed adultery, and was kicked out.
According to a Daily Telegraph profile, which was published on March 19, 1992, just after the the couple separated, Sarah was, in one sense, "a remarkably dutiful member of the Royal Family. She did more than her fair share of official appearances and she associated herself with dozens of good causes. But that could never be enough: for all her enthusiasm she never achieved the dignity or understood its importance. And there are many who say she would not even try."
This makes a lot of sense. Sarah Ferguson was bubbly, warm, energetic, but she did not respect herself or her role as Duchess of York. This was largely due to her upbringing. Her parents certainly didn't teach her how one lives in society. Her boarding school education was largely limited because she did not attend an academic school She did not attend university. She speaks English, but no other language. Religion did not play much of a role in her life, either.
In marrying Andrew, she reached the brass ring, but the path to stay on course oozed with temptation, and Sarah, who had been assuaged and indulged by her father, did not know how to say know.
Sarah Ferguson does not have a moral compass. Yes, she supports charities, but many of her own projects have not done as well. Her name is on several books about Queen Victoria, but the books were actually written by Benita Stoney. Her children's' books and other projects have an element of being dodgy at time.
There are some who say that the Queen should have been more involved with Sarah's entrance into the royal family. But Sarah is an adult, and she is the one responsible for her debts, for her infidelities, and now, for attempting to obtain filthy lucre in exchange for businessmen meeting Andrew, who happens to be Britain's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. This is an unpaid position.
There is no question that the Duke of York was involved or aware of Sarah's discussions with the phony businessman.
Their divorce has been an amicable one. Sarah and Andrew are hands on parents, although, perhaps, Beatrice and Eugenie, have spent far too much time with Sarah's rich friends, and less time learning how to be dignified British princesses.
Because Sarah has never been able to own a home of her own, she lives at Royal Lodge, Andrew's home. One wonders how long this will now last. It is also possible that Sarah has compromised her former husband's position.
What was Sarah thinking? She is again in debt, and she has few options. Her judgment, again, has been clouded, but she didn't think before she got trapped by the News of the World.
Sarah may also have legal troubles, including income tax evasion on both sides of the Atlantic. The sting took place in a New York hotel, and the News of the World may have broken New York state laws, regarding entrapment.
The tabloids have used the word greedy to describe Sarah. I do not think she is greedy. She has incurred serious personal and professional debts. She has to pay off these debts. She is also being sued, which means further debt. Although she attends parties on yachts, she is not a traditional jet setter. Often, the airfare to these events is picked up by her host. She does not live a truly lavish lifestyle, although she does not have the income to live in the life she has chosen. She's a former royal - by marriage -- and she continues to use the title, Sarah, Duchess of York, to which she is legally entitled. But the name -- and the connection to the British royal family - opens many doors. Doors that would not be open to a Miss Sarah Margaret Ferguson.
She is in serious trouble, once again, and she is the one solely responsible for her actions. But she's betrayed her daughters, and most important, she's betrayed the one person who continued to tilt windmills in her favor, the one person who was willing to stand up to his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who warned the family, time and time again, about Sarah, the one person who gave her a home, who provided friendship even after divorce, her former husband, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Sarah's foolhardiness is the reason that she now may also lose Andrew's lifeline.
And, it is her own fault.