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Daily View: Sarah Ferguson investigation

Clare Spencer | 09:32 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

Sarah FergusonCommentators discuss the News of the World investigation which appeared to show the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson attempting to sell access to her trade envoy ex-husband Prince Andrew for £500,000.

James Whitaker says in the Guardian
that he is not surprised:

"The woman is skint. And, like any desperate person, she will do almost anything to get her hands on some cash. Fergie has made it abundantly clear that if this means 'using' Andrew she will not think twice. It isn't attractive - it's not so different from selling your mother. But the question has to be asked: how has the Queen allowed the situation to deteriorate to this level? The duchess was always a loose cannon and needed looking after."

Libby Purves suggests in the Times that the problem lies in what she says as Sarah Ferguson's lack of intelligence:

"Sarah Ferguson was just not born to be looked at and judged by millions of strangers, or to racket around the world like Becky Sharp: to put it kindly, she's not very sharp at all. The News of the World undercover team - who say that the operation was launched because she was reputedly doing such deals with real businessmen - are not magical masters of the Dark Arts. The conversation as recorded is, to anybody who has done real business, implausibly vague, unbusinesslike and frankly unlikely. It reads like a dodgy bit of script from Howards' Way or Footballers' Wives. It is ludicrous on a professional level, and downright tragic when you remember that this is a real family with real feelings and two humiliated daughters."

Phillip Knightley in the Independent wonders about the motivation for the investigation:

"Going undercover is considered glamorous. Acting a role that exposes wrongdoing or greedy and bad behaviour attracts some journalists, particularly those seeking to become the heroes of their own stories. But above all, at a time of falling circulations and editorial financial restrictions it is a comparatively cheap form of journalism with a quick result. Standard investigative journalism is expensive, often open-ended and uncertain. Many stories simply fail to stand up."

Gordon Rayner says in the Telegraph that Sarah Ferguson had an "overspending disease":

"The Duchess's two greatest weaknesses - money and her complete lack of guile - made her an obvious target for the tabloid sting which exposed the depths to which she has sunk. Although she blamed the Royal Family for her perilous financial position - saying her £15,000-a-year divorce settlement had left her 'without a pot to p*** in' - the real reason for her alarming debts is her uncontrolled spending."

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