The Duchess of York spoke affectionately about her ex-husband Prince Andrew and laid bare the close relationship she had with Her Late Majesty. In a new interview, Sarah – also known as Fergie by friends and fans – said she will always be grateful to have had “even a minute of” the late Queen’s time.
Speaking with the Telegraph, the Duchess added: “Because also, during the last three years, her poor son has been going through such a tumultuous time, and I think HM was very relieved I could help her with him, so we became even closer, then.
“But I’ve always admired and adored her. Really, she was more of a mother to me than my mother.”
While the Queen never publicly made comments hinting she had a favourite child, Andrew was widely reported to be the one she had a particularly soft spot for.
Asked if the past three years made her tight-knit family even closer, Fergie replied with a hypothetical question on how her interviewer would feel if her daughter fell over at school.
The Duchess said: “You want to say: ‘Get up, come on, it’s fine!’ You don’t want her to be hurting. And I think it’s really sad to see what Andrew has been through.”
Asked whether the late Queen was confident Sarah would remain by her side even after her death, Sarah said: “She knew. I will always be there. Always. Because I love her.”
The “tumultuous time” Fergie refers to likely has to do with the allegations, which he strictly rejects, launched against the Duke of York by Virginia Giuffre, who says to be one of the victims of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince Andrew’s fall from grace in the eyes of the public began in November 2019, when he sat down for an in-depth interview with Newsnight’s Emily Mailis focused on his association with Epstein.
The 45-minute sit-down was met by furious criticism, with many accusing the Duke of not showing enough sympathy for the victims of the disgraced financier.
Days later, as many of his patronages started to review their ties with the royal, Andrew announced he would temporarily step back from public duties.
In the summer of 2021, Ms Giuffre launched a civil lawsuit against the Duke, whom she accused of sexual assault on three different occasions when she was 17.
Andrew, who continues to deny any wrongdoing, returned his royal and military patronages to his mother the Queen in January 2021, one day after judge Lewis A Kaplan refused to throw out the case.
While the royal said he wanted a trial by jury, in February last year it was announced he and Ms Giuffre had reached a settlement in principle out of court.
Andrew made a “substantial donation” to Ms Giuffre’s charity in support of victims’ rights and pledged in a statement to “demonstrate his regret for his association” with Epstein.
The settlement did not represent an admission of liability on Andrew’s behalf.
One year later, it was claimed the Duke had asked his lawyers to look into the possibility to overturn the civil lawsuit’s settlement.
The Duke of York is said to have been inspired to act after Ms Giuffre dropped a defamation lawsuit against another man, US lawyer and professor Alan Dershowitz, whom she had previously identified as one of the men Epstein had trafficked her to.
Upon dropping the lawsuit, Ms Giuffre said she may have “made a mistake” when accusing Mr Dershowitz, who had always vehemently denied allegations against him and had launched his own lawsuit against his accuser – which was then also dropped.
Since late 2019, the Duke has not performed any official duties and has not used his HRH style.
He is also believed to have lost his taxpayer-funded security, and recent reports have claimed King Charles is to slash his subsidy as part of an overhaul of royal spending, which could lead Andrew to no longer being able to stay at the Royal Lodge, his home in Windsor.
While Fergie and Andrew divorced in 1996, they remained close for the sake of their daughters Eugenie and Beatrice.
The divorce remained amicable even after the Princesses became adults and left the nest, and Fergie still lives at the Royal Lodge whenever she is in the UK.
Speaking about her bond with Andrew, Sarah told her interviewer: “I think we have an amazing mutual understanding of one another. We’ve always been like that. Also, we both hate confrontation.”
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