Sarah Ferguson, the York princesses and their husbands were all in Verbier after Christmas for a New Year’s ski holiday. They were staying in the “controversial” ski chalet owned by Fergie and Prince Andrew. The ski chalet has been much-discussed in recent years, because no one knows how Fergie and Andrew got the money initially to make layaway payments on the £18million chalet in 2014, and no one knows why the money ran out for payments immediately following Jeffrey Epstein’s death. The Yorks still owed £6.6 million on the chalet, and until that sum was paid to the original owner (Isabelle de Rouvre), the Yorks could not sell the chalet. In recent weeks, the sale of the chalet was being discussed as one of the answers to Andrew’s ongoing legal fiasco, as in, if he possibly settled out of court with Virginia Giuffre, he would have to use the money from the sale of the chalet. Well, here’s some good news for Andrew and I’m sure this will not lead to more questions!
Prince Andrew has settled a £6.6 million debt with a French socialite, paving the way for him to sell his beloved ski chalet to fund his alleged sex abuse case. Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, sold her house, Chalet Helora, to her then-friends Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson in 2014 for £18million.
Andrew and Fergie agreed with Ms de Rouvre that the house would be paid for in instalments. But Ms de Rouvre claimed the Yorks failed to make the final instalment of £5m for the property in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier. Initially Ms de Rouvre agreed that it could be deferred until December 2019, with interest accruing, but the pair still did not honour the agreement despite repeated demands. Glamorous Ms de Rouvre, saddened by the breakdown in trust, was forced to launch a legal battle in the Swiss courts two years ago in an attempt to recoup the sum owed to her by the Duke of York.
The Duke finally paid late last year, and Ms de Rouvre has now said: ‘The war is over. He has paid the money.’
The settlement raises questions over how Andrew raised the £6.6million he owed Ms de Rouvre – but it now paves the way for him to sell Chalet Helora and free up desperately needed cash to pay his escalating legal bills due to claims he sexually assaulted Virginia Roberts.
Ms de Rouvre said: ‘I sold it two months ago, or was it one. Maybe six weeks ago. Anyway, I sold it to the Yorks and we made an agreement. That is the end of the story thankfully. The war is finished. It is the end of the matter. I have nothing to do with it now. That’s all. I don’t know what they are doing now. They were here at Christmas but I only know that because I read it in the press. I did not see them. So Happy Christmas and that’s that. The end.
‘It was about six weeks ago that the matter was closed. It was November. It’s done. They paid the money and it was done. It is closed for me. The war is over. He has paid the money. We have a war against Covid which is more important but this was a different war. The second payment needed to be paid and that payment is now done. That’s it. You can be sure that’s it. It’s done.
I’ll underline this point: Andrew had to clear his debt with Isabelle de Rouvre before he could sell the chalet, going by Swiss law. It was not a case of Andrew selling the chalet and then using that money to pay his debt and clear up her lawsuit. Which begs the question: where did Andrew get £6.6 million?
Meanwhile, sources told the Sun and the Mail that Andrew has already found a buyer for the chalet. The York vacation really was the last one at the chalet, and the Mail says a “mystery buyer” has already agreed to take the chalet off Andrew’s hands and the sale is proceeding.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and WENN.