The Duchess of York has bought a £5million luxury property in the heart of Mayfair – London’s most exclusive district – despite previously describing herself as being ‘continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy’ and having ‘little understanding’ of money.
Sarah Ferguson, 62, is said to have purchased the bijou terrace 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 Mayfair 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.
It 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.
Her new house 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.
Most of her income is 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.
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.
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
The Duke of Westminster (pictured), 31, is believed to have sold a £5million Mayfair property to Sarah Ferguson, reports the Sun
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)
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 5 years at an asking price of £12million.
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.
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.
The chalet in Verbier has an indoor pool, sauna, boot room and terrace with spectacular views
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.’
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 rape and other sexual crimes 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.