Sarah Ferguson Addressed Prince Andrew as “Sir” for the First Six Months of Their Relationship
Who: Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, Duchess of York, 59, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, 59. Andrew is Queen Elizabeth's third child, and he is currently eighth in line for the British throne.
How They Met: It’s reported that Prince Andrew met his bride-to-be by way of another royal newcomer, Princess Diana. Ferguson and Diana had been friends as children, and, according to Vanity Fair, the princess took it upon herself to invite Ferguson to the Royal Ascot in 1985. Fergie's and Andrew’s paths had crossed in the past, but this appears to have been the meeting that jumpstarted their romance.
“We have known each other since we were 4 or 5, but we only really noticed each other fairly recently,” Andrew said upon announcing the engagement.
The duo wasted little time. By February 1986 Andrew and Sarah were engaged, and they wed just five months later.
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When They Peaked: Unaware of the scandals soon to plague their relationship, Andrew and Sarah were the picture of youth and happiness on their wedding day.
The Breakup: As Britain was gearing up for an election in the spring of 1992, speculation surrounding the state of the Duke and Duchess of York’s relationship reduced the nation’s political dealings to second page news. After days of incendiary reports, the palace released a statement in late March, writing, “Lawyers acting for the Duchess of York initiated discussions about a formal separation for the Duke and Duchess. These discussions are not yet complete and nothing more will be said until they are.”
But the separation wasn't completely out of the blue. A year earlier, eyebrows were raised when the media was made aware of the Duchess’s “very close friendship” with Texan petroleum tycoon Steve Wyatt.
In August of 1992, five months after the first reports of the couple’s marital dissonance, photos of the Duchess sunbathing topless and kissing financial advisor John Bryan were leaked to the press. One particularly demonized photo showed Bryan kissing Fergie’s foot.
Not long after Andrew and Sarah had officially divorced in 1996, the Duchess published a memoir. Due to the terms of her divorce, there wasn’t a lot in the way of royal gossip, but she did reportedly share that she referred to Prince Andrew as “sir” for the first six months of their relationship, even in private.
Though the media tends to prefer the “scandal” narrative, Fergie herself insists the true reason behind the end of her marriage was much more palatable. “I didn't want a divorce but had to because of circumstance,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2007. "I wanted to work; it's not right for a princess of the royal house to be commercial, so Andrew and I decided to make the divorce official so I could go off and get a job." In 2009 Fergie told New York magazine that due to Andrew’s naval duties she only saw him 40 days a year for the first five years of their marriage.
Where They Are Now:
The Duke and Duchess of York share two daughters together — Beatrice, 31, and Eugenie, 29. Neither party has remarried in the 23 years since their divorce. In fact, there are rumors that Sarah and Andrew (who are currently vacationing together amidst fallout from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal) have gotten back together.