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Undeterred by scandal, Duchess appears at book show

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Sarah Ferguson in the hot seat
  • The Duchess of York is a bestselling author of children's books
  • She is at book show to promote new series about overcoming growing pains
  • Tabloid posts video that appears to show her accepting money for access
  • Ferguson apologizes; palace says Prince Andrew unaware of alleged deal

New York (CNN) -- Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, appeared at a book convention in New York City on Wednesday, undeterred by a scandal that she allegedly offered to sell access to her former husband, Britain's Prince Andrew.

"It was quite difficult for me to get to Javits Center this morning," she said. "One or two people in the way, but then, perhaps you've read that," Ferguson said, joking about photographers following her every move.

Ferguson, who is a best-selling children's book author,spoke at a breakfast at the Book Expo America conference, an annual convention of booksellers.

She avoided CNN questions about the scandal.

She is promoting her new series of books, "Helping Hand Books." The publisher describes them as stories aimed at children going through growing pains.

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On Sunday, the News of the World tabloid posted a video on its website that appears to show Ferguson accepting money from an undercover reporter in exchange for access to Prince Andrew.

Ferguson is also filmed on hidden camera telling the reporter -- who was posing as a wealthy businessman -- that a payment of 500,000 pounds ($723,000) "opens doors" to Andrew.

She then shakes hands with the reporter after he accepts the deal.

In a statement issued Sunday, Ferguson apologized for the incident.

"I very deeply regret the situation and the embarrassment caused," the statement said. "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."

The tabloid said its reporter and Ferguson met on two occasions, once in New York and another time in London.

In the heavily edited, roughly 4-minute video, Ferguson appears to accept $40,000 as a down payment for a meeting with Andrew, then later discusses a wire transfer of the larger sum.

"If we want to do a big deal with Andrew, then that's the big one," she says.

When asked how she would receive the 500,000 pounds, she tells the reporter, "You send it to the bank account that I tell you to send it to."

In her statement Sunday, Ferguson confirmed Andrew "was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred. ... The Duke has made a significant contribution to his business role over the last 10 years and has always acted with complete integrity."

The next day, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying Prince Andrew knew nothing about about the alleged offer.

"The Duke of York categorically denies any knowledge of any meeting or conversation between the Duchess of York and the News of the World journalist," Buckingham Palace said, using alternate titles for Prince Andrew and Sarah


He has carried out his role as a British trade envoy since 2001 "with complete and absolute propriety and integrity," the palace said.