Sarah Ferguson speaks to Oprah about Diana in 1996
Sarah, also known by her fans and friends as Fergie, praised the Duke of Edinburgh for being an extraordinary husband, father and grandfather. In a wide-ranging interview, the Duchess of York declined to say whether she managed to make peace with her ex-father-in-law before his death.
But she showed her admiration for Philip, who served the country and the Crown for seven decades.
She told the Telegraph Magazine: “The Duke was an extraordinary consort, father and grandfather, and his passing has left a great void in the family.
“He served his nation and the Queen with incredible dedication for almost 70 years.”
The Duchess of York’s relationship with Philip fell apart in 1992, when intimate pictures of Sarah and her financial advisor John Bryant were published in British newspapers.
Sarah Ferguson spoke about Prince Philip in a recent interview
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Philip in the early 1990s
At the time of the publication of these photographs, the Duchess was at Balmoral Castle and had to endure the fury of both the Queen and Philip.
Royal expert Camilla Tominey wrote: “He apparently never forgave her for ‘toe-gate’, when compromising images of her cavorting with her financial adviser, the Texan millionaire John Bryant, were splashed across the front pages while she was holidaying with her in-laws at Balmoral Castle in 1992.
“The Duchess had to suffer the ignominy of an ‘excruciating’ breakfast during which a ‘furious’ Queen pored over the pictures of ‘Fergie’s stolen kisses’.
“She later revealed the toll the incident took on her mental health, saying: ‘It was so bad that I believed I was this worthless human being.
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Prince Philip died in April
“‘I thought maybe Prince Philip was right’.”
Even in recent years, some royal commentators believed the Duke of Edinburgh refused to be in the same room with the Duchess of York.
However, he did attend the weddings of both her beloved daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.
The Queen is believed to have forgiven Sarah, as in recent years she has invited her both to Royal Ascot and to spend time at Balmoral Castle.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew on their wedding day
Royals attending the wedding of Princess Eugenie in 2018
Ms Tominey wrote as part of her interview: “Palace insiders say the 95-year-old monarch has always admired the way the Duchess has not only been ‘such a good mother’ to Beatrice and Eugenie, but also crucially, such a stalwart support of her ‘favourite’ son.
“In June 2019, the Queen even invited her former daughter-in-law to join the family for the penultimate day of Royal Ascot.”
Philip died on April 9 at Windsor Castle.
One week later, a handful of his closest relatives gathered at St George’s Chapel to take part in a socially distanced funeral, in accordance with the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew got married in 1986
Sarah was not among the 30 attendees – but her two daughters and Prince Andrew were at the chapel.
Beatrice and Eugenie were accompanied by their husbands Edoardo and Jack.
The Duchess of York joined the Royal Family in 1986, when she married the Duke of York.
However, due to Prince Andrew’s military career, husband and wife barely saw one another during the first years of their union, which contributed to the breakdown of their marriage.
They eventually separated in 1992 – before pictures with Mr Bryant were released – and divorced four years later.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew at Royal Ascot in 2019
In 1996, Fergie was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, and famously told her life behind palace doors is not a fairytale.
The Duke and the Duchess, however, remained close for the sake of their daughter, and still share a home at the Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Addressing reports they could get back together and even remarry, Fergie told Ms Tominey: “‘All I can say is that we’re happy with the way we are right now.”