Sarah Ferguson's Money Woes: Ex-Duchess Financial Issues Affected an Expensive Gift Queen Elizabeth Once Bought Princess Beatrice

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Queen Elizabeth II, Sarah Ferguson, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, pictured in 1997.

Jan. 17 2024, Published 6:23 p.m. ET

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The late Queen Elizabeth II once bought Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie an expensive gift in 1997. However, Sarah Ferguson, reeling from her recent divorce from Prince Andrew, turned down the generous gift.

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Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

Her Majesty reportedly bought Birch Hall, a manor house that also featured swimming pools and tennis courts on the property. Once Ferguson turned down the monarch's offer, the estate is believed to have sat empty for years.

"She could not afford the upkeep and running costs of the centuries-old property near Windlesham in Surrey," a source claimed when discussing Fergie's decision to pass on the gift. The girls and former royal, who lost her "HRH" during the divorce settlement the previous year, remained in Fergie and Andrew's former wedding gift home, Sunninghill Park, instead.

When the property did eventually sell, "it was believed that money from the sale would be held in a trust for Eugenie and Beatrice, who were aged just 10 and nine at the time."

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The Duke and Duchess of York on their wedding day, July 23, 1986.

Ferguson would eventually move in with her ex-husband in 2008, and the pair have shared the Royal Lodge ever since. The one-time Duchess of York would go on to describe herself and her former spouse as "the happiest divorced couple in the world." This is despite royal author Tina Brown's 2022 claims that the now royal disgrace of a prince was once "addicted to porn" and on several occasions referred to his former wife as a "fat cow."

Still, she went on to defend the Duke of York again during a July 2023 episode of her podcast, "Tea Talks with the Duchess and Sarah." "I asked him if he was alright without his mum and dad. He said it’s lonely. He thinks about it a lot. [He is] human like everybody else."

Andrew and Sarah met in the mid-1980s and were married in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey on July 23, 1986. The royals were savaged in the British press for years afterward thanks to what some called "buffoonery." The Duchess stepped out of the marriage in the early '90s, which included an infamous incident where her lover was photographed kissing her toes while they were lounging by a swimming pool.

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Like Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson has also been linked to Jeffrey Epstein.

Ferguson has returned to peak form with her audio program, which is slowly but surely gaining a large audience. Some reports suggest she is still attempting to use the platform to rehabilitate her ex-husband, who fell from grace in 2019 after he was accused of sexual assault.

She's garnered criticism from many for standing by Andrew no matter what. The Duchess was also friends with Jeffrey Epstein and visited him frequently throughout 2010 while he was under house arrest.

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Queen Elizabeth II pictured in the 2010s.

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The Daily Mirror reported on the insider revelations.

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