She was banished to the sidelines for years after her high-profile divorce from Prince Andrew in 1996, but now Sarah Ferguson appears to be firmly back in the royal fold.
In fact, the 64-year-old Duchess of York, still affectionately known as Fergie, was invited to the King’s Coronation Concert in May and spent Christmas at Sandringham, where she walked alongside members of the Royal Family to the church.
If that wasn’t enough to prove that the mother of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie has returned from the cold, she was front and center at the memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece at Windsor Castle yesterday.
In an extraordinary turnaround after his mother, the late Queen, banned him from royal duties and stripped him of his military and HRH titles just two years ago, Andrew, 64, led the Signature to St George’s Chapel, and his ex-wife was right next door. the side of him.
“Prince Andrew and the Yorks are firmly back in the fold,” one royal watcher told MailOnline after the Duke and Duchess’ united display at the service.
The extraordinary change of fortune for Sarah, which would have been unthinkable if Prince Philip were still alive, is attributed to the king rewarding her loyalty and the duchess finding a powerful defender in Queen Camilla.
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson arrive at the memorial service for the late King Constantine of Greece at Windsor Castle.
A source told The Mail On Sunday earlier this month: “There is a feeling that, whatever Sarah’s personal flaws (and she may be like Marmite in that sense), she has been a good mother to the girls and loyal to Andrew”.
A friend of Charles echoed this sentiment, telling the Daily Mail’s Richard Kay in December: “(The King) has always appreciated loyalty and appreciates everything Fergie has done for his brother.”
It may be an exaggeration to say that she has kept him alive, but she has certainly kept him sane. Can you imagine what Andrew would be like without Sarah who, despite everything, is one of life’s optimists?’
In the four years since Andrew’s fall from grace for his ties to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, no one has been more supportive than his ex-wife, who has not shied away from publicly defending him.
The King, who softened his deal with Sarah last year, also admires the way the Duchess has restored her own reputation by keeping her family together.
It is unlikely that the Royal Family has forgotten the photos of Fergie ‘sucking her toes’, taken while she was on holiday with her Texas tycoon lover, or the way she offered access to Andrew in exchange for cash and was caught in a newspaper bite. .
But in recent times the duchess, who still lives with Andrew at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, has found a powerful supporter in the king’s wife, who “likes Sarah”, according to a source.
The source told the Mail On Sunday earlier this month: ‘They are both nobles. They share a love of horses and Fergie will be smart enough to play with Camilla and realize that she is the power behind the King. That she should be kind to them and support them.
Sarah (pictured alongside Lena and Zara Tindall) spent Christmas at Sandringham, where she walked alongside members of the Royal Family to church.
Sarah Ferguson (left) and Princess Beatrice (right) in the royal box watching the coronation concert held in the grounds of Windsor Castle, Berkshire, to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla in May 2023.
In December, the Duke and Duchess of York walked behind royals as crowds lined the street outside St Mary Magdalene Church for the traditional Christmas Day service at the Norfolk estate.
It was the first time Fergie joined royals for the walk in 32 years, after Prince Philip banned her from attending.
She was “out of the ordinary” as far as Philip was concerned, according to her biographer Gyles Brandreth, and “vulgar, vulgar, vulgar,” as one courtier memorably put it.
For years, her ex-husband took his daughters to Royal Family celebrations without Sarah. She was even left off the guest list for Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, while the rest of her immediate family attended the glittering occasion.
In an interview with Town & Country in 2021, the Duchess revealed that she herself felt she was “not worthy” of attending the event and left the country.
‘I didn’t think I was probably worthy of going to their wedding. In fact, I took myself to Thailand to be away from there so I could try to heal myself,” he said.
It is understood that the Duke of York (pictured alongside Sarah) was attending the service as a member of the British royal family and had been invited by the Greek royal family.
Prince Andrew was seen leading members of the Royal Family in a thanksgiving service at Windsor Castle for the late King Constantine of Greece.
Behind Prince Andrew was Sarah, the Duchess of York, followed by Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Zara and Mike Tindall, and Princess Anne.
But attitudes towards Fergie softened slightly in 2018, when she was invited to Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.
Then, in May 2023, Sarah was invited to the Coronation Concert as a “VIP attendee”, according to reports from The Sun. She although she was not allowed to attend the coronation itself; Her and Prince Andrew’s daughters attended the historic event at Westminster Abbey.
Meanwhile, Camilla was the senior royal at Greece’s late King Constantine’s event yesterday, and her husband King Charles was absent as he continues his cancer treatment.
But after Prince William pulled out of the service at St George’s Chapel at the last minute for unspecified “personal reasons”, Prince Andrew was left as the next most senior royal present, as he led others on foot, including Princess Anne, Zara and Mike Tindall. .
Phil Dampier told MailOnline: “It’s quite extraordinary that Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson were front and center when they entered the Chapel, almost like old times.
“Yes, it was a private family event, but it was a large turnout of royals seen by the public.”
It is understood that the Duke of York was attending the service as a member of the British Royal Family and had been invited by the Greek Royal Family, and yesterday’s appearance was not an official royal engagement as such.
The service marked the first public event the Duke attended since the Christmas Day service at Sandringham, and occurred almost two years to the day he settled the sexual assault case brought against him by Virginia Giuffre, a sex slave victim. from Andrew’s friend. Jeffrey Epstein.
Sarah still lives with Andrew. For years, her ex-husband took her daughters (pictured all together) to Royal Family celebrations without Sarah.
The deal was never disclosed, but was estimated to be worth around £12 million ($16.3 million).
It saved him from having to give evidence under oath at any trial in the US and there were claims the Queen helped him pay for it. Andrew has vehemently and repeatedly denied all allegations against him.
The duchess consistently defended her ex-husband, calling him “a completely good and very kind man” who “shines” as a grandfather during an appearance on Lorraine in August 2021.
“Prince Andrew is a good man, he is a really good man,” she said during the television interview.
“He’s a very kind man, he’s a really good father and we were very good parents, hence the reason why our daughters are very solid and down to earth.”
“But now as a grandfather he’s really good, he can spend hours talking about football and stuff.” It’s a pleasure to see him really shine as a grandfather.”
In 2018, Sarah told the Daily Mail: “We are the happiest divorced couple in the world.” We are divorced from each other, not from each other (…) My duty is to him. I’m very proud of him. I support him and always will. Our way of being is our fairy tale.’
Recently, speculation has increased that the Duke and Duchess of York are thinking about getting married again.
The rumors emerged after Sarah revealed that she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma just months after undergoing a second round of reconstructive surgery following her breast cancer diagnosis.
Despite the double whammy of health, the Duchess has maintained her usual approach, including posting on Instagram and attending events like the one yesterday.