Sarah Ferguson arrives at the Caudwell Children Butterfly Ball in May
Eamonn Mccormack  /  WireImage
Sarah Ferguson arrives at The Caudwell Children Butterfly Ball at Battersea Evolution on May 20 in London.
msnbc.com
updated 8/7/2010 8:50:41 PM ET 2010-08-08T00:50:41

The Duchess of York's debts have reached 5 million pounds, or nearly $8 million, and her only option may be the first voluntary bankruptcy of a royal, The Sunday Telegraph of London reported.

At least one senior financial adviser to Buckingham Palace recommended the action despite the acute embarrassment it would cause for her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, and Queen Elizabeth, The Telegraph said.

The queen is said to be “deeply concerned” by the debts, which are more than twice as large as previously thought, the newspaper said.

Even Prime Minister David Cameron has been briefed on the issue and discussed Sarah Ferguson's finances during one of his weekly private audiences with Queen Elizabeth, The Telegraph said.

“One key adviser believes the right thing is for the Duchess of York to go bankrupt. He says it will be a week-long wonder, then everyone will say, 'It’s not altogether surprising’ and then they will forget about it,” a senior royal source told the paper.

A spokesman for Ferguson, 50, declined to comment on the size of her debts.

“There is currently a review of the duchess’s finances under way, and a number of options are being considered,” he told The Telegraph. ''No decision has yet been taken. She has a number of options for rebuilding her career, and she is in talks for new contracts regarding licensing, books, television, photography, public speaking and other projects.”

In May, the duchess was stung by the tabloid News of the World, which caught her allegedly selling access to her ex-husband, the United Kingdom's special representative for international trade, for 500,000 pounds. She later apologized for her “serious error of judgment” and said Prince Andrew knew nothing of her actions.

Ferguson appeared afterward on the Oprah Winfrey show and reportedly received an offer to do a talk show on Winfrey's planned cable channel next year.

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