Royal Scandal: Fergie Busted Selling 'Access' to Prince Andrew

Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson caught on tape making 500,000 pound deal.

ByABC News via logo
May 23, 2010, 7:54 PM

May 24, 2010 — -- What's the running price for a few minutes with the Prince Andrew, Duke of York? Apparently 500,000 pounds -- or about $717,649 -- if you deal with his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson.

At least that's the price settled on between Ferguson and an undercover journalist posing as a businessman in a scandalous video posted on the British tabloid News of the World website.

"500,000 pounds when you can, to me, open doors," Ferguson says, referring to the prince.

Click here to see the full video on the News of the World website.

In a statement, a representative of Ferguson's confirmed the authenticity of the video and the duchess released her own statement to express her regret.

"I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused," Ferguson, 50, said. "It is true that my financial situation is under stress however, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgement and I am very sorry that this has happened. I can confirm that The Duke of York was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred.

"I am sincerely sorry for my actions. The Duke has made a significant contribution to his business role over the last 10 years and has always acted with complete integrity," she said.

Royal historian Robert Lacey pointed out that these types of tabloid stings have almost become "national sport." The general consensus in and around London, he said, is one of sorrow for Ferguson, rather than anger.

But it is likely her actions will have some impact on the royal family.

The prince's office also released a statement in light of the scandal in which he "categorically" denied any knowledge of the duchess' meeting. The two have lived together for years and while Lacey predicted that arrangement would continue, their relationship may change in the eyes of the public.

And behind palace doors, Ferguson is likely to take a hit. Her relationship with her ex-husband's family has always been strained.

"I think it's going to be chilly for a bit," Lacey said. "It's Prince Phillip who doesn't like her and I think this is going to confirm his worst fears."

While the video is certainly embarrassing for the duchess, The Associated Press reported it's unlikely she did anything illegal.