PRINCESS DIANA’s former private secretary has launched a scathing attack on Sarah Ferguson after she used a royal cypher to write an invoice to Hong Kong tycoon Dr Johnny Hon.
Patrick Jephson wrote his objections in a comment piece for Mail Online. Sarah had charged Dr Hon £200,000 for “marketing and promotion”. Mr Jephson wrote: “A royal cypher is a big deal: that artistically stylised ‘S’ surmounted by a coronet has priceless symbolic value — it gives royal authority to whatever document it appears on. It is, literally, a royal seal of approval.
“That is what Sarah, formerly known as HRH The Duchess of York, was selling — not her skills in marketing and schmoozing but the dignity, majesty and, yes, the commercial brand value of the British Monarchy.”
Sarah was married to Prince Andrew, Duke of York from 1986 to 1996 and had two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with Andrew.
Mr Jephson claimed that “some wonk” would likely be able to calculate “how many zeroes it added to the six-figure number she had successfully negotiated”.
He added: “Smart royal business — or scandalous money-grubbing?
“Even back in the 1980s in the good old days of It’s A Royal Knockout — when she and other Royals performed in a frankly embarrassing charity version of the game — the power of royal cypher was never really theirs. It was borrowed from the people, who allow the Windsors to reign over them.”
Sarah’s royal cypher features a stylised S surrounded by a coronet: “Devalue these symbols and you damage royalty’s claim on the material rewards for their sacrifice. Every misused cypher, every artlessly trailed palace connection, every step out of the path of royal self-denial is another loose thread pulled from the monarchy’s precious tapestry.
“It’s no coincidence that their self-indulgence underlies much of the criticism currently levelled at Prince Harry and his wife, with Nigel Farage just the latest (if most tactless) voice in a chorus of disapproval.
“Conspicuous consumption is bound to rouse the puritan that lurks in the most ardent monarchist.
“In Sarah’s defence, she’s not alone in helping herself to Dr Hon’s generosity because — as was eventually confirmed — Zara Phillips’s bank account has also benefited from his business model after she was paid £100,000 a year between August 2016 and last March.”
Mr Jephson compared Sarah to his former boss Diana: “Diana generally had a shrewd sense of self-preservation when wading in the murky waters where royalty and money mix, taking what was offered for her good causes while carefully avoiding the more sticky inducements that often came with the package.
“Her sister-in-law somehow never quite got the knack. Even — as reported in yesterday’s Mail — naively allowing her husband to negotiate a £15,000 ‘loan’ from the disgraced billionaire and paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.”
Sarah was the child of army major Ronald Ferguson and his first wife Susan Wright.
She met Andrew at polo matches occasionally and the future couple knew one another during childhood but they were re-acquainted at Royal Ascot.
Sarah has continued to be make occasional appearances at royal events with her ex-husband and daughters.