Everything you need to know about Fergie

·Contributor
·7-min read

Who is Sarah Ferguson?

Sarah Margaret Ferguson was born on October 15, 1959, in the UK’s Hampshire, to a family she once described as "country gentry with a bit of old money.”

She married Prince Andrew in 1986, and the pair had two daughters together, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York attend day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 21, 2019 in Ascot, England.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, Duke of York at Royal Ascot on June 21, 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

What other nicknames does Fergie have?

Sarah was called Fergie by the British press when she first met Andrew, and the name has stuck. She has also admitted people close to her call her Duchy Doodle.

How did Fergie and Prince Andrew meet?

Sarah’s father, Major Ronald Ferguson, was Prince Philip’s polo manager, so Sarah and Andrew knew each other when they were children. They met properly as adults at Royal Ascot in 1985 and started dating soon after.

A library file picture taken from the Ferguson family album of Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York aged of 10 years at her home in the snow at Dummer, Hampshire.
A 10-year-old Sarah Ferguson at her home in the snow at Dummer, Hampshire. Photo: Getty Images.

When did Fergie and Andrew get married?

The couple married on 23 July 1986 at Westminster Abbey. Fergie wore a dress by unknown designer Lindka Cierach, which was the source of much consternation amongst royal watchers before the wedding.

On the day, the dress, made from duchess satin was well received by commentators. "Lindka was a genius," Fergie has said. "I knew she could make the most flattering gown ever, and she had. It was amazingly boned, like a corset."

Lindka recalls how she “wanted [Fergie’s] sense of fun to come out in the dress,” but tells how she vetoed her idea of embroidering lovebirds and helicopters into the fabric.

After they married, the Queen bestowed Andrew and Sarah with the titles, HRH the Duke and Duchess of York.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Prince Andrew, Duke of York  stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and wave at their wedding on July 23, 1986 in London, England.
Fergie and Prince Andrew tied the knot on July 23, 1986. Photo: Getty Images.

Why is Fergie still a duchess?

Even though Sarah and Andrew are divorced, she is still known as Sarah, Duchess of York. Soon after she and Andrew divorced, the Queen regulated royal titles, which meant Fergie was stripped of the HRH before her name, so she was no longer a member of the royal family. The same regulations mean she is allowed to be “Duchess of York,” but not “the” Duchess of York. She is allowed to keep this title unless she remarries, and then she will lose it.

Why did Sarah and Andrew get divorced?

Fergie and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996, after separating in 1992. The couple had reportedly grown apart just five years after their wedding after Andrew’s role in the navy required him to be away from home for months on end.

She has said how she only saw Andrew for “40 days a year for the first five years of our marriage”, adding: “I spent my entire first pregnancy alone. When Beatrice was born, Andrew got 10 days of shore leave and when he left and I cried, they all said: ‘Grow up and get a grip.’”

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York with their daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice on holiday in Verbier, Switzerland on 20 February 1999
Prince Andrew and Fergie holidayed in Switzerland with their daughters Eugenie and Beatrice in 1999, three years after their divorce. Photo: Getty Images.

Did Fergie have an affair when she was married to Prince Andrew?

It’s never been confirmed that either Sarah or Andrew had affairs during their marriage, but just a few months after they announced their separation, Fergie was photographed on holiday with new lover, John Bryan.

The American financial manager was pictured sucking her toes. When the pictures appeared on the front of a British newspaper, Prince Philip was said to be furious and didn’t speak to Fergie again for over 25 years.

What other scandals has Fergie been involved in?

Fergie has admitted she gets into “endless trouble” because she “looks at life with a child’s sense of excitement and joy.” This has landed her in serious financial trouble.

Debt

A few years after her divorce, Fergie had reportedly run up around $8.9million. This caused her to sign a multi-million dollar contract to become a Weight Watchers ambassador, and to do speaking engagements in the US – something that was frowned upon by the royal family.

She also set up a lifestyle business, Hartmoor, which was closed in 2009 with $1.45million of debt.

Sarah Margaret Ferguson, The Duchess Of York, Poses With Her New Book "Win The Weight Game: Successful Strategies For Living Well", Prior To A Book Signing Event In Hollywood, California on January 24, 2000.
Fergie became a Weight Watchers spokesperson after landing herself in serious debt. Photo: Getty Images.

Cash for access

In 2010, Fergie was caught on camera by a British tabloid offering one of their undercover reporters, who was posing as an Indian businessman, access to Prince Andrew for $905,000. She has always claimed Prince Andrew had no knowledge of the deal.

She later told Oprah Winfrey that she’d been drinking when the ‘deal’ occurred, saying: “I was in the gutter at that moment. I’m aware of the fact that I’ve been drinking, you know — that I was not in my right place.”

More debt leading to sex scandal

As Fergie’s debts increased, Prince Andrew reportedly arranged for $27,000 to be paid off by Jeffrey Epstein, raising questions about how much she knew about her ex-husband’s involvement with the convicted sex offender.

Earlier this year, the couple put their Swiss ski chalet up for sale for $33 million, after they failed to pay the final instalment on the luxury property.

Are Fergie and Andrew still friends?

Yes. After getting divorced they lived separately but moved in together again in 2008 after Sarah’s home caught fire. Despite much speculation, they are romantically involved, they have denied this. In 2011 Sarah said: “I love him. He’s my soulmate. It’s actually what we said in front of God at the altar: We honour and respect each other until death do us part. The only thing is, he has girlfriends and I have boyfriends,” she said.

Neither of them currently have another partner. They shared custody of their daughters until they became adults, and still go on holiday and to events as a family.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice of York attend of the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Fergie with Prince Andrew and Princess Beatrice at Princess Eugenie's wedding to Jack Brooksbank on October 12, 2018. Photo: Getty Images.

Fergie was accused of being “tone deaf” when she defended Andrew after allegations that he had sex with a 17-year old girl and knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s sex offences. She described Andrew as a “wonderful man” who has gone through "enormous pain". She added: “He is the best man I know. It’s just incredible what he has done for Britain and it’s all nonsense.”

What does the royal family think of Fergie?

Prince Philip

For many years, Fergie was shunned by the royal family. After pictures of her toes being sucked by American businessman became public in 1992, Prince Philip reportedly banned her from any royal residence that he was in, and refused to speak to her. It wasn’t until they both attended Princess Eugenie’s wedding in 2018 that they were in the same room.

The Queen

Despite Prince Philip’s feelings towards Fergie, the Queen has reportedly always been fond of Fergie. There were rumours that she once left Prince Philip at Sandringham to go and have a glass of sherry with Fergie who had to stay in the gate house.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson, 1990.
Fergie shares a laugh with Queen Elizabeth II and The Queen Mother in 1990. Photo: Getty Images.

Princess Margaret

When Andrew and Sarah first started dating, Sarah and Princess Margaret were close. But as Sarah and Andrew’s marriage soured, so did Sarah and Margaret’s friendship. Fergie reportedly once sent her flowers in an attempt to rekindle their friendship, with Margaret writing back: “How dare you send me flowers? Have you ever considered what damage you’ve done to the Royal Family?”

Other royals

Although she wasn’t invited to Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, she did get an invite to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day in 2018 – although not to the evening reception which was hosted by Prince Charles. She is still in favour with the Queen though, after being invited to spend a week with the monarch at Balmoral in 2019.

Is Fergie on Instagram?

Yes. You can follow her @sarahferguson15.

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