A former friend left out of pocket by the Duke and Duchess of York says she is “outraged” over Sarah Ferguson’s purchase of a multi-million London mansion because she thought the duchess “didn’t have a penny.”
Isabelle de Rouvre sold her Swiss ski chalet to the Yorks in 2014 but accepted lower payment believing the couple were short of cash and because of Prince Andrew’s sex abuse case.
Prince Andrew and Fergie bought de Rouvre’s chalet in Verbier for about £18 million ($31 million).
READMORE: The Queen Mother’s most spectacular jewels and who wears them now
They asked to buy the seven-bed chalet, which featured an indoor swimming pool, sauna and bar, after renting it regularly for holidays.
They took out a mortgage of £13.25 million ($22 million) and agreed to pay the remaining £5 million ($7 million) in cash facilities to de Rouvre, with interest accruing.
When the couple failed to pay the outstanding amounts, she took them to court in what became a long-running dispute.
Now, the French socialite has told The Sunday Times she was owed about £6.8 million ($12 million), which included interest, but agreed to a lower payment of about £3.4 million ($6 million), partly because she was under the impression that the Yorks were short of money.
De Rouvre said she also chose not to pursue the full payment because of the legal case brought by Virginia Guiffre against Prince Andrew, alleging that he had sex with her when she was 17, which he denies.
She said she “settled for about half the amount” she was owed by the Yorks.
“I understood they didn’t have the money and believed he would be going to prison in America so I thought it best to get what I could,” she told the publication.
Her agreement freed up the Yorks to complete the sale of the chalet. She said of the situation in January: “The war is finished.”
Prince Andrew is believed to have borrowed money from members of the royal family to pay Giuffre an estimated £10 million ($20 million) because of the delay in getting funds from the sale of the chalet.
Last week it emerged the Duchess of York had bought a £5 million ($8.7 million) Mayfair home, believed to be an investment opportunity for her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
“I am outraged that I am now told she has spent millions on another property,” de Rouvre told the Times.
“It is just incredible and the whole story unbelievable.
“It is a dirty story as far as I am concerned. I thought she didn’t have a penny.”
The address is in the Grosvenor Estate and was owned by the Duke of Westminster, who is a close friend of the royal family and godfather to the future King, prince george, according to The Sun.
Fergie and Prince Andrew, both 62, still live together at the Royal Lodge in Windsor – when she is based in the UK – which is owned by the Queen and on a long-term lease to Andrew.
In 2010 the duchess said she was “continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy”.
And during her decade-long marriage to Prince Andrew there were reports she had debts of up £4.2 million ($7 million) in debt during her ten-year marriage.
Recently, Fergie secured a 22-book deal with an Australian publisher as a children’s author.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here
The British royals’ most shocking controversies and scandals