Prince Andrew’s beloved Swiss chalet is reportedly being gutted after it was sold to settle his civil sexual assault case out of court.
Several photographs showing a large blue van from London removals service Abels parked outside the controversial £17million holiday property in Verbier have been published by MailOnline.
Abels received a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty The Queen in 1981 and has been performing moving services for the Royal Household ever since and has been awarded for his services.
No one within the company commented on the footage on MailOnline, but locals told the outlet the sighting was the ‘talk of the place’.
An anonymous local resident said on Thursday evening (09.06.22): “I’ve seen guys moving boxes and pieces of furniture around and they’ve been there all day and they don’t look like be done – it’s a huge van so I imagine they will completely clean the chalet.”
They added that they had not recently seen Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, 62, at the property: ‘We used to see the Duke and his wife here all the time, but in recent years , it’s Sarah with the kids – I know they’re both loved the place and have spent many wonderful years here.
“Sarah was here over New Years with her family for the last time and they watched the fireworks from the balcony – I really think it was with a heavy heart that they sold it because Sarah was used to it to ski here all the time when she was younger.”
Chalet Helora, which has an indoor pool and sauna, was on the market for 22m Swiss francs (£17.6m).
Shamed Andrew, 62, has kept a low profile since coming under fire for agreeing to an undisclosed settlement with Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slave Virginia Giuffre, 38.
She alleged she was trafficked to have sex with the royal aged 17 by notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein – found dead in his New York jail cell aged 66 years in 2019 – and his “madam” convicted of sex trafficking, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 60.
Despite denying the allegations and promising to defend his case in court, the Queen’s middle son agreed in February to quietly settle the lawsuit in February.
It immediately raised questions over how he was going to pay the settlement, which was reportedly widely reported at up to £12million.
Andrew is said to have taken out a loan from his older brother Prince Charles, 73, to cover most expenses.
It has also been reported that much of the money to repay the Prince of Wales will come from the sale of the Duke of York’s Swiss holiday home.
Photos from inside the lodge show it has a lavish swimming pool and living areas, making it one of Verbier’s “best properties”.
The lodge was put up for sale by the Duke last year and it was reported in January that a buyer had been found for the seven-bedroom property.
Andrew had faced a £6.6million debt to socialite friend Isabelle de Rouvre, 74, who sold the Swiss ski chalet to the Duke of York and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, 62 , in 2014.
De Rouvre claims the Yorks were unable to meet a repayment deadline and the couple were sued in 2020 for £6.6million including interest.
It was reported in January that the case was resolved in 2021 when the Duke is said to have paid his debt.
De Rourve said at the time: “The war is over. That’s the end of the matter. I have nothing to do with it now. That’s all.”
But speculation that the chalet is being sold by the Duke is at odds with new reports that it is “impossible” after it was frozen as an asset by Swiss authorities.
Sources in Verbier say the chalet has been placed “in receivership” due to an alleged debt of £1.6million.
Swiss newspaper Le Temps claims Andrew and Sarah Ferguson struck a business deal with an unnamed couple at the resort, and the reported debt of £1.6million has resulted in the property being sequestered.
Geneva law professor Nicolas Jeandin told Le Temps: “A sale is in principle impossible, except with the agreement of the creditor.”