This week, a U.S. district court judge ruled that the civil suit against Prince Andrew could go forward, and Buckingham Palace announced that the beleaguered duke’s military titles and royal patronages had been returned to the queen and that he would be “defending this case as a private citizen.” Though his woes are still deepening, one long-running legal fight came to a conclusion in late 2021 when Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, settled a debt of 6.6 million British pounds on a ski chalet they owned together, according to the Daily Mail.
News of the agreement comes just weeks after Sarah, the couple’s daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and their respective husbands and children were reportedly spending a winter vacation at the chalet in Verbier, an exclusive Swiss ski village. In photographs published by the Mail on January 2, Beatrice was seen at the ski resort with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, his son Christopher, and the couple’s four-month-old daughter, Sienna. Later, Sarah and Beatrice were seen linked arm in arm with Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank. According to Hello, Andrew stayed behind at Royal Lodge, the Windsor home he shares with Sarah.
Andrew and Sarah purchased the Verbier chalet from its owner, Isabelle de Rouvre, in 2014, agreeing to a payment plan of multiple installments. In December 2019, just one month after the scandal over Andrew’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein led him to resign from his royal duties, the ex-spouses missed an extended deadline for the final payment on the chalet. In May 2020, de Rouvre took legal action against the couple in the Swiss courts.
In September, the Yorks reportedly came up with a plan to settle the debt, and put the house on the market for 17.3 million British pounds. On Monday, the Mail reported that Andrew has secured a buyer, and de Rouvre told the Mail that she received the money last year. “It was about six weeks ago that the matter was closed. It was November,” she said. “They paid the money and it was done. It is closed for me. The war is over. He has paid the money…. The second payment needed to be paid and that payment is now done. That’s it.”
Last fall, a source told Vanity Fair that Andrew’s legal battle with Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre and its financial consequences affected the decision to sell the house. “They had to get rid of the chalet. It had become a noose around their neck. They reduced the price because their debts on the property were escalating,” the source said. “They couldn’t afford to keep the place, and it was falling into a state of disrepair. The bills were enormous.”
According to The Telegraph, Andrew has had to resort to other means to support his income, including a loan from a prominent businessman, despite the financial support he has received from his mother, Queen Elizabeth. “The Duke is currently totally dependent on the Queen but that surely cannot go on forever. The trouble is the Yorks’ outgoings are still huge. Andrew is still paying for Beatrice and Eugenie’s private bodyguards,” an insider told the newspaper, adding that Sarah was reportedly close to bankruptcy in 2010. “It doesn’t matter how much money she has, it just seems to slip through her fingers. They are not in a great place right now.”
In addition to losing his military titles and patronages this week, Andrew will also stop using the HRH honorific. “He won’t be at the Jubilee, he is going to disappear from sight,” a source told Vanity Fair this week. “He knows that he cannot further tarnish the queen’s reputation, and that is very much the view of the family.”
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