As Britain's royal family returns to business-as-usual, they do so in the wake of a tabloid scandal involving Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
Fergie's Goose Cooked with Royal Family?
CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported from London Fergie has been in the U.S. the past couple of days and there are undoubtedly a lot of people around the royal household who'd be happy if she stayed there.
Phillips reported the Queen has continued her royal duties during this latest round "of the show called 'The Fergie Follies." '
Phillips remarked that Ferguson -- once considered the breath of fresh air the royal family so badly needed -- has now fallen so far from grace there seems no way out of the hole she's dug for herself.
Victoria Mather, a royals watcher, told CBS News, "Poor duck, I feel terribly sorry for her, but I also want to smack her."
Fergie was caught on camera by the News of the World newspaper trying to sell access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, a scheme of which he was unaware, Phillips says. She took a $40,000 down payment in cash -- and demanded more.
In a video of the meeting, Ferguson is caught saying, "Five-hundred thousand pounds, when you can, to me (can) open doors."
Fergie, who was flying to Los Angeles as the story broke, apologized for her lapse in judgment.
But her life since the heady days of her marriage to Prince Andrew has been a history of lapses of judgment, Phillips observed.
She had already been labeled as "vulgar, vulgar, vulgar" by the time she had separated from Andrew and was caught having her toes sucked by her "financial adviser."
She had augmented her meager $22,000 a year divorce settlement by doing commercials, promoting weight loss and appearing on the U.S. TV show "Friends."
But Fergie "is a well-known spend-a-holic," and her own personal recession has left her millions in debt, Phillips reported.
Mather remarked, "The Duchess of York is financially incontinent. She's proved herself financially incompetent, and now with this tape and this story, she's proved herself stupid."
Phillips added, "Sarah Ferguson is not the first money-grubbing minor royal. History is full of them. But she is the first money-grubbing minor royal of the age of the hidden-camera. And she's paying the price."
Rob Shuter, a friend of Fergie's and a columnist at Popeater.com, said on "The Early Show" Tuesday that Ferguson is devastated.
"She's accepted responsibility, and many, many celebrities recently have run off, have gone to rehab. The one thing about Sarah is that she stood up and said, 'I've done a terrible thing and I'm terribly sorry.'"
"Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez pointed out Ferguson was seen in Los Angeles accepting an award for her charity work the day after the story broke.
Shuter added Simon Cowell, judge of "Britain's Got Talent" and "American Idol," had remarked that she's the only celebrity he knows that would have appeared in public amid the scandal.
Shuter said, "She knows she made a terrible mistake, and she knows she'll have to carry this with her for the rest of her life. She's terribly sorry."
Shuter said Ferguson also has a book party coming up in New York.
"And if I know Sarah," he said, "she'll go."
"It's not about holding your head up high, it's about accepting responsibility. Ten years ago, Sarah Ferguson would have hid. She made mistakes. She's made many mistakes. ... Now she's learned that lesson."
Rodriguez pointed out reports that Ferguson could possibly stay in the U.S. Could that happen?
Shuter said, "The Brits that I talk to hate her. They're so angry about what she's done. And she's aware of that. I think she'd love to stay in New York, America, and start fresh."
But how did it come to this for Ferguson?
Shuter said, "Sarah's had financial trouble for a long, long time. And she can't win. When she got the job for Weight Watchers the press was awfully cruel to her. They said a royal should not be working."
He added that being in the public eye is also expensive.
"It's awful expensive being the Duchess of York. I'm not making excuses for her. I'm really not. But if Sarah lands in JFK, she can't get into a yellow cab, she has to have a security guard. It's terribly expensive."
When pressed by Rodriguez, he continued, "Think it through then, it's not easy like you and me, then. People like us, we think 'That's an awful lot of money, and with that amount of money I could live very well.' She does need a security guard, she really does, she's the Duchess of York. Can she get in a yellow cab? She does. But it's awful expensive. She's been criticized so much for her looks. She has a hair and makeup person. She should have a hair and makeup person."
Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine, said Shuter seems very loyal to his friend.
Seward said, in fact, people don't hate the duchess, rather they are "incredibly shocked" by her behavior.
"She's a really lovely girl. I just do not know what made her sink to these depths. She must have been desperate. And I think that's what people are really shocked (about)."
Seward said Ferguson will not have a relationship with the royal family whatsoever.
"Privately, they might think, 'What on earth happened to her?' But publicly, they just close ranks. They cannot be seen to condone what she is doing because what she was doing was so shocking."
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