The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson has reportedly demanded £40 million (AU$60 million, US$55 million) from Rupert Murdoch, claiming a 2010 expose in his now defunct News of the World paper “destroyed her career”. The Mail on Sunday reports that new court documents show Ferguson is looking for a payout over the ‘fake sheik’ scandal that rocked the Royal Family and tore her reputation into tatters.
In 2010, Ferguson made headlines after News of the World reporter Mazher Mahmood taped the Duchess offering access to her former husband, Prince Andrew, in exchange for £500,000. The Duchess was caught accepting a £27,600 advance, while she said: “That opens up everything you could ever wish for”. At the time she believed Mahmood was a Middle Eastern businessman.
Due to the infamous scandal, Ferguson claims she lost out on numerous deals, including one with a private equity firm and work on a project that could have supposedly made her millions.
Her new claims are greater than the £25 million she initially asked for when she sued News Group Newspapers, in 2016. The claims include £4.8million for lost personal appearances and £22million for two TV shows, which apparently were put on hold. According to Ferguson, one of the TV shows was an animated series, Fergie’s Farms, which she claims would had been a hit.
Ferguson made another claim for £8.6million due to the loss of health product merchandising, and £5.8million for loss of film and fashion commissions. The Duchess planned to make millions working as a celebrity endorser and launching products under the name, House of Ferguson.
While she’s hoping to cash in, there are doubts about the strength of her case since the 2010 report was both true and in the public interest.
Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986, but the couple later separated in 1992. Her time in the spotlight has been marred with numerous public gaffes, including being pictured on a yacht, while still married, having her toes sucked by her then financial adviser Johnny Bryan.
However, she has managed to repair her reputation over the years, participating in charity work and co-parenting her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with Andrew.
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