Duchess of York 'faces bankruptcy'

The Duchess of York's debts have spiralled to almost £5m, prompting at least one financial adviser to Buckingham Palace to suggest that her best option is to become the first senior member of the Royal Family to go bankrupt.

Her debts, which come to twice the figure previously thought, are both business and personal, and the Duchess owes just over half the money in America, where her legal fees are said to be out of control, The Sunday Telegraph said. The Duchess has virtually no income.

Despite the "deep concerns" of the Queen and the embarrassment that voluntary bankruptcy would cause the Royal Family, it may be her easiest way out, a source close to the Palace told the paper.

"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," he said.