Duchess off to US as Queen shuns her

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The Independent Online

The Queen will not help the Duchess of York, who reportedly has debts of more than pounds 1m, Buckingham Palace said yesterday. Meanwhile, an American charity disclosed last night that the Duchess will be paying her own way to attend a fundraising event in Connecticut on Saturday.

A Palace spokesman said: "The Duchess of York's business ventures are conducted quite separately from any royal duties, and any transactions resulting from them must be resolved between the Duchess and her business associates and creditors. They are not a matter for the Queen."

The Duchess confirmed she was making "huge" cutbacks, but said, "the state of my financial accounts is not anybody else's business". Media reports yesterday quoted Royal sources as saying that the Duchess had an overdraft "certainly not less than pounds 1m" at Coutts.

The Duke and Duchess separated four years ago. A pounds 2m settlement by the Queen is thought to have included pounds 1.4m placed in a trust fund for their daughters, Beatrice, seven, and Eugenie, five. Prince Andrew is believed to pay the Duchess pounds 15,000 a year in addition to the girls' pounds 10,000-a- year school fees.