Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, Duchess of York, may have been cut from the guest list at Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2011 wedding, but she was front and center at her daughter Princess Eugenie's nuptials this past year—and after two consecutive years visiting Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle, it seems like the Duchess might really be back in the royal family's good graces.
Not only that, but she's about to become a grandmother for the first time. In September 2020, Princess Eugenie confirmed that she is expecting her first child with her husband Jack Brooksbank. Fergie is "delighted."
Here's what you need to know about her.
She and Prince Andrew were married in July of 1986 at Westminster Abbey.
They have two daughters together, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. While they separated in 1992 and announced their divorced in May of 1996, the couple has remained close, and rumors persist that they are still together. As Eugenie put it, "They are the best divorced couple I know."
Fueling speculation that they are still in love, Fergie told a radio station in 2016, "We've never really left each other."
The royal family's growing numbers could impact Andrew and Sarah's relationship status.
After Prince Louis was born, Prince Andrew became seventh in line to the throne, meaning he no longer needed the Queen's permission to marry, should he and Sarah decide to officially get back together again. (These days, thanks to the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, Andrew is eighth in line.)
She's about to be a grandmother.
Following Princess Eugenie's pregnancy announcement on Instagram, Sarah posted her excitement.
"I am so excited by the news that Eugenie and Jack are expecting their first child. Thrilled for them both and in my 60th year cannot wait to be a grandmother," she wrote. "Welcoming a new baby into the York family is going to be a moment of profound joy."
I am so excited by the news that Eugenie and Jack are expecting their first child. Thrilled for them both and in my 60th year cannot wait to be a grandmother. Welcoming a new baby into the York family is going to be a moment of profound joy pic.twitter.com/nGtMkqNTKJ— Sarah Ferguson (@SarahTheDuchess) September 25, 2020
After her divorce, she retained the title Sarah, Duchess of York.
When Fergie married Prince Andrew, she received the titles of Her Royal Highness and The Duchess of York. After their split, her title became Sarah, Duchess of York, as is the customary styling for former wives of peers.
For a time, she was estranged from the royals, but in recent years, they seem to be on better terms.
Her invitation to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding back in 2018 may have been a sign that she's at least partially back in the royal fold. "Harry knows all too well what it feels like to be branded as the black sheep of the Royal Family," royal biographer Christopher Andersen told the Daily Beast. "Prince Philip, who has always detested the Duchess of York, may never be in a forgiving mood. But Harry is far more compassionate than previous generations of royals, and he obviously believes Fergie deserves another chance."
For the second summer in a row, the Duchess was also invited to stay with the royals during their annual trip to Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Still, Prince Philip refuses to be there while she's visiting. "Sarah wasn’t invited for years after she and Prince Andrew separated but she’s back on the invited list," a source told Vanity Fair. "She has gone the last couple of years, but she’s not there when the Duke [of Edinburgh] is in residence."
Fergie has seen her fair share of scandals.
Namely, she was photographed with her toes in the mouth of another man while still married to Prince Andrew. She was also captured on film offering to take cash in exchange for access to her ex-husband.
In light of Jeffrey Epstein's arrest (and eventual suicide), another one of the Duchess's former scandals has recently resurfaced. Ferguson accepted $18,000 from Epstein, to help restructure her debts. After the Telegraph brought the payment to light in 2011, Ferguson also admitted that Prince Andrew had arranged it. She called the arrangement a "gigantic error of judgment."
She had a complicated relationship with Princess Diana.
"I really miss Diana. I loved her so much," Ferguson told Harper's Bazaar in 2011, explaining that she and Diana hadn't spoken for a year before her tragic death. "Diana was one of the quickest wits I knew; nobody made me laugh like her. But because we were like siblings—actually, we were fourth cousins and our mothers, who went to school together, were also best friends—we rowed. And the saddest thing, at the end, we hadn't spoken for a year."
She has a very active social media presence.
While many members of the royal family do not have personal social media accounts, the Yorks have embraced both Instagram and Twitter. Prince Andrew has his own Twitter and Instagram handles, and Princess Eugenie has her own personal Instagram account. For her part, Fergie is very active on both Instagram and Twitter, sharing photographs of her daughters and ex-husband, inspirational quotes, and details of her latest philanthropic efforts. See a few recent posts below:
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