Sarah, Duchess of York applies to become permanent resident of Switzerland

by Ainhoa Barcelona

The Duchess of York could be spending more time in Switzerland, the country she calls her "home", after it was revealed that she has applied to become a permanent resident. Sarah, who has skied in the upmarket resort of Verbier since she was a teenager, loves the landlocked nation so much that she has filed the paperwork.

"I have begun the process of officially becoming a resident of Valais," the Duchess told Swiss newspaper Le Nouvelliste. "The administrative procedures are underway."

Prince Andrew's ex-wife first visited Verbier, in the canton of Valais, when she was 16 but started skiing at the age of three. She also briefly worked as a chalet girl before joining the royal family.

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Sarah Ferguson began to ski at the age of three

"Since that first visit, I have regularly returned for holidays to Verbier," said Sarah. "My family has followed me over the years. We feel free and happy, we feel at home. Anyway, I call it 'my home'."

It was the locals' warmth and their fine food that drew the Duchess in. "There is a sense of welcome. The people of Valais take the time to listen to you, support you if necessary," she said.

The royal admitted: "I am a gourmande. And I appreciate good wines, La Dôle in particular, and this white wine called Les Murettes. A delight. Not to mention the dried meats and cheeses. The raclette, of course, or fondue with truffles. This is why I am always on a diet."

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Sarah and Prince Andrew have been holidaying in Verbier for years, with their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie

In 2014, almost 20 years after their divorce, Sarah and Andrew purchased a £13million property in Verbier to use as a "nest egg" for their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The Prince chose to celebrate his 53rd birthday at Chalet Helora and was so taken by the seven-bedroom property that he and Sarah put a joint offer in.

The chalet, which has its own staff and on-site chef, boasts a sumptuous living room, a sauna, a bar stocked with fine wines and a 650 square feet heated indoor swimming pool that has floor-to-ceiling windows, not to mention 3,000 square feet of additional land.

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The couple bought Chalet Helora as a "nest egg" for their children

"Neither of them have their own property and wanted to buy the chalet as an asset to leave to their children," a source told The Daily Mail. "They holiday in Verbier several times each year as all the family are keen skiers and it makes sense to have their own place there."

It is located in one of the most expensive areas of Verbier, which counts James Blunt and Richard Branson as its fellow residents.