British royal subject Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York, will be eating crow with a side order of humble pie for some time to come.
That is because the 50-year-old, known affectionately as "Fergie," fell victim to a sophisticated sting operation organized by British tabloid News of the World that has tongues wagging on both sides of the Atlantic today.
Poor Sarah was caught on camera taking a $40,000 cash bribe from a fake oil sheik in return for hooking him up with her ex-husband, Britain's Prince Andrew -- The Duke of York, and son of the Queen of England.
The $40,000 was a cash advance on $500,000 that the fake sheik promised to deliver to Sarah at a later date after she introduced him to Prince Andrew.
Sarah was caught on film saying:
"He knows that he's had to underwrite me up to now because I've got no money. So if you want to meet him in your business, look after me and he'll look after you. . . you'll get it back tenfold."
Sarah can also be heard on the video saying her ex-husband, the prince, would never take a penny from anyone because he is "Whiter than white."
Fergie was apparently so destitute while living under the roof of the Royal family, that she risked her reputation and her shaky standing with the Queen.
A Palace spokesman said Andrew (pictured above with Sarah) "categorically denies any knowledge of any meeting" between the duchess and the reporter.
Though her current financial situation clouded her judgment, she was so suspicious of the "sheik" that she asked him if he was a reporter, and even tried to get him to sign a confidentiality agreement -- which he refused.
Prince Andrew and Sarah were married in 1986, and they divorced 10 years later. They had two daughters together, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who both enjoy healthy trust funds from which they pay their mum a small allowance every month.
Imagine being an Aristocrat and having to rely on your children for money! Throughout the years, Prince Andrew has allowed Sarah to live under his roof for two reasons: (1) because he still loves her, and (2) because she has nowhere else to go.
To spare the prince any further embarrassment in the wake of the scandal, Sarah has offered to leave Andrew's home -- a magnificent castle set in 100 lush acres in Windsor Park.
Sarah's only other income is her half of Prince Andrew's Naval salary ($43,000) that she received as compensation in their divorce.
Believe it or not, she did not take him to court because she knew his money was the Queen's money. But her sad case reveals just how stingy the Queen is when it comes to taking care of one of her own.
Fergie once told an interviewer that the late Princess Diana walked away from her divorce with $28 million, while she (Fergie, pictured above with Prince Andrew on their wedding day in 1986) received nothing.
British subjects took to message boards by the thousands this morning to bash and criticize Fergie for her financial desperation. But a little sympathy and understanding is in order here.
What woman doesn't want her own cash to spend on shopping sprees every once in a while?