What's Up With the Bad Blood Between the Royal Family and Sarah Ferguson?
With a royal wedding just days away, the spotlight that always shines on the royal family gets a little brighter — and it spreads. Princess Eugenie's about to walk down the aisle to marry Jack Brooksbank, but the royal celebration is bringing Eugenie's mom, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, back into the public eye. While royal die-hards know exactly why she's seen as a black sheep, here's a refresher on exactly what went down between Eugenie's parents, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew.
Sarah Ferguson made a splash with her red hair even before she was engaged to Prince Andrew. Back in 1986, he was fourth in line for the throne and Ferguson had made a few appearances alongside Princess Diana, so she was familiar with the pomp and circumstance of royal life. The couple was married that same year and the Queen bestowed the couple with the titles Duke and Duchess of York.
And while it all seemed like a fairy-tale romance, Prince Andrew was spending a lot of time with the Navy and the British press was eviscerating Ferguson for everything from her appearance to her crumbling relationship. After the birth of her daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, the tabloids criticized her weight. Just two years after Eugenie's birth, the couple separated in 1992 and were officially divorced in 1996. In the period between, Ferguson no longer carried out royal duties on behalf of the queen, though she kept her title. Also during that time, topless photos of Ferguson vacationing with an American, John Bryan, were published by the Daily Mirror.
That incident, in addition to Ferguson's mounting debt, further estranged her from the royal family. According to the Telegraph, Ferguson's aunt-in-law, Princess Margaret, wrote that Ferguson had embarrassed the family more than she could ever fathom.
"You have done more to bring shame on the family than could ever have been imagined," she wrote in a note.
Even though most of the royals seemed to shun her, Ferguson still spent time with her daughters and her ex-husband at royal events, such as Royal Ascot. There were even instances of her being treated just like she had been before the divorce, such as in 2013, when she was invited to stay at Balmoral Castle as a guest of the queen and earlier this year, when she was invited (and attended) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. However, she wasn't invited to Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding.
But seeing as she's the mother of the bride, royal-watchers can expect to see her at Eugenie's wedding. According to Vanity Fair, Fergie will sit front and center at St. George's.
"Ferguson will sit beside her ex-husband in the front pew of St. George's Chapel," the magazine wrote.
And like any mother of the bride, Ferguson is making sure that her daughter gets any help that she needs. VF adds that she's planning many parts of the evening reception and making sure that the guest list isn't stuffy.
"Sarah and Andrew are helping to organize the evening party," a source told Vanity Fair. "The plan is for a marquee to be set up in the grounds and dancing late into the night. Eugenie and Jack are planning the whole thing, but Sarah and Andrew are very involved. Sarah is bringing a very eclectic and exciting guest list to Windsor."