The Duchess of York has bought a £5M Mayfair home ‘made up of two flats knocked together’ only a short walk from Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house where Prince Andrew was pictured with his arm around the waist of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, MailOnline revealed today.
Sarah Ferguson, 62, is moving into one of London’s most exclusive streets — popular with The Beatles in the 1960s and also Rihanna when she comes to the UK — despite previously describing herself as being ‘continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy’ and having ‘little understanding’ of money.
She has been seen in Mayfair viewing the Mews property which is on a cobbled street and a stone’s throw from the Horse and Groom which opened in the 17th century.
A neighbour who lives a few doors away from Fergie’s corner house said: ‘The builders have been in for ages and it has been empty. Two flats have been knocked together to make a house.
‘I didn’t know she had bought that property. I’m a bit surprised that she has bought it right next to the garage. Because there are cars coming in and out all the time.
‘But I suppose the property values have just gone up with royalty here — unless Andrew moves in of course!’
Fergie will be welcomed to the area by the local landlord — who has offered her the first drink on the house.
‘This is a pub which is very popular with the residents of this street,’ publican Afrim Neli said. ‘I will welcome her and offer her a free drink.
‘The Beatles would come in as their manager Brian Epstein lived here and Rhianna comes in when she is in London. So we are used to famous faces.’
Fergie is said to have splashed out £5 million on the corner property which was owned by a developer who has moved to Nottingham.
A local housekeeper said: ‘About two months ago I saw her coming out of the house. She seemed in a hurry and got into a car.
‘I didn’t really look too closely as we are used to famous people around here.’
A man parking his car in the garage said: ‘The spaces normally cost about £3,000 a year. I believe there was one space available too. Maybe she’ll get that.’
MailOnline revealed today that her bijou terrace is just a third of a mile from Maxwell’s former home in central London, where she is alleged to have groomed young girls.
It is also where her friend the Duke of York allegedly had sex with Ms Giuffre, then 17 — an allegation in the civil claim the royal paid her around £12million to settle in the US.
He did not accept any liability when he made the settlement and vehemently denies the claims.
Pictured: The £5million house reportedly bought by Sarah Ferguson in Mayfair from the Duke of Westminster amid questions about where she got the money from
Sarah Ferguson (pictured with ex-husband Prince Andrew in 2019), 62, is said to have purchased the home from her friend the Duke of Westminster, 31, who became one of the wealthiest men in the country when he inherited his father’s £10billion fortune in 2016
Horse and Groom publican Afrim Neli said: ‘I will welcome her and offer her a free drink’
Ms Maxwell sold her mews to a developer for £1.75million last year to help towards her legal bills before she was jailed for 20 years in New York for grooming children for her paedophile boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein, who trafficked Virginia and other girls around the world on his private jets — treating them as sex slaves.
Fergie is said to have purchased her new home from her friend the Duke of Westminster, 31, who became one of Britain’s wealthiest people when he inherited his father’s £10billion fortune and the Grosvenor property empire in 2016. He is also a close friend of Prince William and Prince Harry.
The £5million house is said to be viewed as an investment opportunity for her daughters Beatrice and Eugenie — but for now it is Fergie’s only home in London amid questions about where she could have found the cash.
Her multi-million pound purchase came despite her repeated complaints of financial difficulties in recent years, describing herself as ‘continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy’ in a 2010 TV interview in the US. She also admitted to having ‘little understanding’ of money and there were reports she had run up as much as £4.2million in debt during her marriage to Andrew.
She received £3million from their divorce and most of her income is now likely to come from her books. Her first bodice-ripper crept onto the bestseller charts last year — despite critics branding it a ‘slog’ with no sex. Critics branded the book ‘boring’ but it initially sold 1,000 copies a week when it was released.
People on the street said the Duchess had been spotted viewing the house in the late spring — and seen running into a waiting vehicle. They admitted they were happy to have yet another famous neighbour — as long as her ex-husband stays away.
The mews was once two flats now converted back to a house and formed part of the giant Grosvenor Estates portfolio, but has now been transferred to the Duchess, who spends most of her time living with her ex-husband at his grace-and-favour home — the Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell’s mews house in Belgravia was bought by a property developer for £1.75 million. It is a gentle stroll from Fergie’s new home
The property is said to be where the Duke of York was photographed with his arm around the bare waist of then 17-year-old Virginia Roberts. In the background, Ghislaine Maxwell
Prince Harry files his second lawsuit against UK government and Scotland Yard over decision to ban him from paying for police protection in Britain
Prince Harry has filed a second lawsuit against the British government and Scotland Yard over the decision not to allow him to pay for police protection when he visits from California.
The Duke of Sussex is already suing the Home Office over its decision in 2020 to remove his taxpayer-funded protection, which he says makes it unsafe for him to come to Britain with his wife, Meghan Markle, and two children, Archie and Lilibet.
Now he has filed a second lawsuit against the Home Office which also names the Metropolitan Police, the High Court confirmed to MailOnline.
‘It is at an early stage, no hearings have been listed yet and no decisions have been made,’ the Judicial Office added.
The new case will focus on a decision in January by the Royalty and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC), which concluded that private individuals should not be allowed to pay for police to protect them.
The revelation of a second court case – which emerged on Meghan’s birthday – threatens to raise tensions with the Royal Family due to claims that the Queen’s Private Secretary, Sir Edward Young, was involved in the decision to deny Harry protection.
‘Significant tensions’ are said to have existed between the Duke of Sussex Sir Edward, according to the prince’s legal team.
Today’s news is also likely to dismay the government, which has spent £100,000 on its legal battle so far, according to a report last week.
A spokesman for her ex-husband Prince Andrew, who has had his own financial woes after settling the case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre for £12million, said he had not been personally involved in the purchase.
The Duke and Duchess of York have also been trying to sell their £17.5million Verbier ski chalet, but this has been held up by legal woes.
MailOnline has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.
Fergie and Andrew currently reside in the Royal Lodge in Windsor, owned by the Queen, 96, who resides in the nearby castle.
Sources told the Sun the new Mayfair property is thought to be ‘a long-term investment for daughters Princess Beatrice and Eugenie’, describing it as ‘picturesque’ and in ‘one of the very smartest areas of London.’
They added: ‘It had previously been a couple of flats but has been converted to a single property.
‘If the girls are going to inherit it at some stage they’re extremely lucky.
‘It’s a short walk from the best bars and restaurants in the city, beautiful parks and other hot spots. But God knows where the money has come from — everyone thought they were totally skint.’
Fergie’s representatives confirmed the purchase to the Sun but were unable to provide any more specifics of the sale — which has yet to be published by Land Registry officials.
It is not the first time the couple’s property deals have come under scrutiny.
In January MPs called for a ‘dirty money’ probe into the £15million sale of Prince Andrew’s Sunninghill estate to a Kazakh oligarch who became the centre of corruption claims.
The Duke, 61, sold the home in Ascot, Berkshire, to Timur Kulibayev, 55, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s autocratic former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, in 2007.
But questions had been raised ever since over the sale of the property, originally gifted by the Queen to Andrew when he married Sarah Ferguson, after it went for £15million — £3million over its asking price.
That is despite the property, which was mockingly called ‘SouthYork’ due to its supposed similarity to the garish ranch of SouthFork in the US series Dallas, languishing on the property market for five years at an asking price of £12million.
The chalet in Verbier has an indoor pool, sauna, boot room and terrace with spectacular views. The couple have been trying to sell it for around £17.5m
Then: Sunninghill House, on the edge of Windsor Great Park near to Ascot, which was sold by Prince Andrew in 2007
In 2015, Kulibayev razed Sunninghill Park – which had been compared to a Tesco superstore due to its ugly appearance – so that he could build a new home. Last year, images (above) showed how the home’s sprawling ultra-modern replacement was nearing completion
Andrew, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, was once a special trade envoy for the UK.
The Duke of Westminster (pictured), 31, is believed to have sold a £5million Mayfair property to Sarah Ferguson
And he had been accused of acting as a fixer in Kulibayev’s business deals and is a close friend of the tycoon’s Nazarbayev.
Andrew is also struggling to sell his £18m ski chalet in Verbier, Switzerland, due to an alleged £1.6m debt to a Swiss couple.
According to reports in the Swiss media, the debt to the mystery couple is preventing the Duke of York from completing the sale of his much-loved Chalet Helora.
It has been claimed that the disgraced royal was intending to use money from the sale of the property to help finance his £10million sex assault lawsuit settlement with accuser Virginia Giuffre.
In February of this year it was reported that Andrew had found a buyer for the chalet, after settling a separate £6.6million debt to French socialite Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, who he purchased the property from in 2014.
But the process appears to have stalled because the chalet is ‘under sequestration’ as a result of the alleged debt. The chalet was frozen as an asset by Swiss authorities on December 15, 2020 according to Le Temps newspaper.
Sources close to Prince Andrew previously told MailOnline that the dispute will not prevent the property’s sale, and that while the Duke ‘did not deny owing the money’ to the couple he was ‘questioning the amount’.
The source said: ‘This has nothing to do with the original purchase of the chalet, it’s a completely separate business transaction between the couple and the Duke.
‘It shouldn’t affect the sale of the property despite what the Swiss media says and is expected to go through as planned.
‘Talks are underway to resolve the matter, which are expected to be concluded satisfactorily for all parties.’
One source told the Sun the new Mayfair home is ‘picturesque’ and in ‘one of the very smartest areas of London’ (Stock image of Mayfair in central London)
Prince Andrew has not been to the chalet in Verbier for several years, but his ex-wife Sarah and two daughters Beatrice and Eugenie spent the New Year in the luxury property with their families.
He stepped back as a senior royal in May 2020 after allegations emerged over his relationship with the disgraced sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein.
A high profile court case in which Virginia Guiffre, a victim of Epstein’s, accused the Duke of York of sexual abuse was settled out of court in March of this year.
The total settlement is believed to be around £12 million, and includes Ms Guiffre’s legal bills and an unspecified amount to a charity of Ms Guiffre’s choice.
He did not accept any liability when he made the settlement and vehemently denies the claims.