Duchess braves awards ceremony after sting

THE Duchess of York was putting on a brave face yesterday after being forced to issue an apology over an embarrassing newspaper sting in which she accepted money for access to her former husband.

Sarah Ferguson collected an award in the US for her charitable work hours after admitting a “serious lapse in judgment” over the affair.

The News of the World filmed her promising to introduce an undercover reporter posing as a wealthy businessman to Prince Andrew, Britain’s special representative for international trade and investment since 2001.

Shunning the red carpet at Sunday night’s event in Los Angeles, the duchess ducked through a side entrance to the star-studded awards ceremony organised by children’s charity Variety International.

But she was photographed smiling and waving during the event at which she picked up an award for her work with underprivileged children.

Collecting her award at the ceremony, the duchess said: ``I like children and hate adults,'' adding: ``It's been a tough day.''

She received the award for her work with Children in Crisis.

The annual event sees children’s charity Variety International recognise those who show outstanding commitment in helping disadvantaged and disabled children.

On Saturday, she and elder daughter Beatrice, 21, were guests at a party for supermodel Naomi Campbell’s 40th birthday in the French Riviera.

She arrived in Los Angeles on an American Airlines flight from London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a statement on Sunday, the Duchess said her financial situation was “no excuse for a serious lapse in judgment” after being filmed offering to sell access to her ex-husband for £500,000 (€582,200).

She added: “I can confirm that the Duke of York was not aware or involved in any of the discussions that occurred.”

In a video on the News of the World website she is shown telling the reporter: “£500,000 when you can, to me, open doors.”

Asked if she was referring to Andrew, she said “Yeah”, then shook hands with the reporter before apparently accepting a $40,000 (€32,259) cash down-payment.

She was filmed apparently telling him how to transfer £500,000 to her bank account., saying: “Then that, is then like, then you open up all the channels whatever you need, whatever you want, and then that’s what and then you meet Andrew and that’s fine. And that’s, that’s when you really open up whatever you want.”

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