Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson have purchased a chalet in the Swiss resort town of Verbier. According to BBC News sources, it is a “family investment.” BBC News estimates the purchase price to be between £8m and £13m, or approximately U.S. $12 million and U.S. $19 million.
The couple, also known as the Duke and Duchess of York, divorced in 1996 after a 10-year marriage. They first separated in 1992. Neither has remarried. The couple have two children.
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson reportedly vacation several times a year in Verbier, so having a home there simply made sense. Although the Mirror reports the purchase was made final three weeks ago, the Sunday Express quotes an agent in Verbier who says the negotiations had been going on for nearly a year.
The property was bought on a joint mortgage, and a BBC News source said no “external party” provided money for the purchase.
The Express further reported that the home is split to get around Swiss laws that prevent foreign property ownership over a certain size. The former couple share the 881-meter land. Sarah Ferguson has the lower floors and basement, while Prince Andrew has the upper floor and attic.
The family and the guests of the royals have access to up to six permanent staff. The chalet has seven bedrooms, a swimming pool, sauna, a sun terrace, and stunning mountain views.
The Mirror said Ferguson and the Prince stayed at the chalet last week as a scandal emerged involving the Duke of York. Documents in a U.S. court case claim Prince Andrew had sex with an underage girl.
The Duke and Duchess of York have remained close as they raised their children, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Four years ago, when Sarah Ferguson was embroiled in a scandal of her own, Prince Andrew stood by her. She was accused of trying to sell “access” to the royal family. As the Mirror reported in May 2010, he forgave her and said she could remain in his house as long as she liked. A Mirror source said Prince Andrew believed she was set up. He also saw her as an excellent mother to their two daughters. The source also described their unique relationship.
“The fact is that when say they are the world’s happiest divorced couple, they really mean it. Sometimes you cannot understand why they split up in the first place. They will always be best friends and although the set-up seems weird to many people, it works for them.”
[Prince Andrew image via The Mirror]