Just know, I think this story is shady as hell. I don’t have the receipts as to why exactly this story makes me sit up a little bit straighter, but it’s still worth discussing. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has lived with his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, for years. Even though Fergie got hosed in their divorce and has at times been deeply in debt, it feels like Fergie and Andrew still take care of one another financially (and emotionally and probably in other ways). If Fergie is getting paid, Andrew is getting paid and vice versa. I’ve always believed that Andrew has used Fergie as the “frontwoman” for some of his shadier business deals and Fergie has always been willing to overlook a lot if she gets to ride in a private jet or get a free vacation. Some would say that Fergie and Andrew are united in their hustling. Perhaps.
In any case, something sort of weird has happened. Nineteen years after their divorce, Fergie is finally moving out of the Royal Lodge at Windsor, which is where she and Andrew cohabitated since their split. But she’s not just moving out of the Royal Lodge – she’s moving out of England entirely and moving into the Swiss chalet she and Andrew mysteriously bought earlier this year for £13 million.
Sarah Ferguson is leaving London for the ski slopes of Switzerland. Almost 20 years after her divorce from Prince Andrew, the Duchess of York, 55, is leaving the Windsor mansion she has long shared with her ex-husband for the picturesque ski resort town of Verbier, Switzerland.
According to a report in The Express, Ferguson has settled in a $20 million chalet with a staff of six and a pool. Her spokesman, James Henderson, confirmed to PEOPLE that the Duchess has left the Royal Lodge at Windsor for Verbier but could not comment on her new home’s price, luxury amenities or staffing requirements. He dismissed the report that the move is the result of Fergie’s friendship with internet entrepreneur Manuel Fernandez, 47, with whom she attended the Cannes Film Festival last June.
“I think that’s unrelated,” Henderson told PEOPLE. “She’s been creating a more independent life for herself, and so this move is a reflection of that.”
But Fergie isn’t saying goodbye to Britain entirely and remains close with her two daughters with Andrew: U.K.-based Princess Eugenie, 25, and Princess Beatrice, 26, who is set to start a new role at an equity firm in Manhattan. Although Fergie’s new home “will be her base, her focus,” says Henderson, “she travels a lot for business engagements and she has a daughter working in London and another in New York.”
And she still “has a flat in London,” adds Henderson, “and a room at the Royal Lodge at Windsor for family occasions.”
As for her relationship with Andrew, 55, which has famously been a close one, Henderson says the move has nothing to do with any conflict or drifting apart between the friendly exes. “They continue to have a very strong relationship. He helped her out while she needed somewhere to live.”
This feels like an odd move, right? There were a lot of question marks when Andrew and Fergie bought the Swiss chalet earlier this year – how did they pay for it? Would they both use it? Did someone else buy it for them? What kind of exchange or barter is involved? As for Fergie declaring that Switzerland is her newly permanent home, what does that mean? Is it a tax thing? Is she running from something? God, who knows with these two? I really do think that something very shady is happening here.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN.