Top 10 Scandals That Rocked Royal Families

7. Sarah Ferguson Sells Access To The Royal Family

In 1992, the British paparazzi discovered a topless Sarah Ferguson lounging with an American financial manager named John Bryan. The photos even showed Bryan sucking her toes. This was all made worse by the fact that Sarah Ferguson—known as “Fergie”—was the Duchess of York and married to Prince Andrew. With her picture in the papers, it appeared as though Fergie had hit her low spot. Perhaps the media storm had blown over.

Four years later, Fergie and Prince Andrew divorced, although she retained her title. Over a decade later, however, she offered access to her former husband, as well as other members of the royal family, in return for £500,000 (about $700,000).

But Fergie wasn’t aware that her buyer was an undercover journalist. The reporter quickly exposed her, and unfortunately for Ferguson, this wasn’t simply a case of his word against hers. The journalist had shared video of Fergie’s exploits, which included footage of her gladly accepting $40,000.

It was known that Fergie was struggling financially, and it was generally accepted that this was the motivation for her actions, as opposed to any maliciousness. (Although her relationship with her in-laws had always been strained, to say the least.)

In a statement after the revelations, Ferguson offered, “I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused. It is true that my financial situation is under stress. However, that is no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment, and I am very sorry that this has happened. I can confirm that the Duke of York was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred. I am sincerely sorry for my actions.”

Although her relationship with her ex-husband and his family deteriorated—she was not invited to William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, for example—Fergie went on to gain a lot of press over the incident. She appeared on shows like Oprah, and she also saw an increase in sales of the children’s books that she’d authored.

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