Princess Eugenie’s wedding ‘paved way’ for Philip and Fergie to get over 20-year row

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Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank will be celebrating their second wedding anniversary today. The couple’s relationship appears to be going from strength to strength after the announcement of Eugenie’s pregnancy. This will be the Queen and Prince Philip’s ninth great-grandchild but Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson’s first grandchild.

Sarah — affectionately known as Fergie — tweeted her excitement when the news broke.

She wrote that she was “so excited” to be welcoming a grandchild in her 60th year, and that “welcoming a new baby into the York family is going to be a moment of profound joy”.

However, Fergie’s relationship with the rest of the Royal Family has not always been easy.

She was married to Andrew from 1986 until 1996, and their messy break-up angered the Duke of Edinburgh.

Fergie was pictured in 1992 in an intimate position with her supposed financial advisor John Bryan in what has become known as the “toe-sucking scandal”.

Both the Queen and Philip were infuriated and Fergie was essentially exiled from the Royal Family’s inner circle.

Fergie later told royal biographer, Ingrid Seward, that Philip had compared her to Edwina Mountbatten — the wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten whose lively social life regularly embarrassed the Royal Family.

He reportedly said to Fergie: “You belong in a nunnery — or a madhouse.”

In her new biography, ‘Prince Philip Revealed’, Ms Seward explained: “It was not until 26 years later that the two met again, at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.

“It may not have been the most auspicious of reunions, but it paved the way for a better relationship between the two — so much so that in 2019 Sarah and Andrew were invited to dine with the Queen and Philip as Windsor Castle, as if the problematic years of the Nineties had not existed.

“Sarah even joined Andrew at Balmoral that summer, but left abruptly once Prince Philip arrived, to go on holiday with Andrew in Spain.”

Philip and Fergie had reportedly forged a strong bond in the early days of the Duchess of York’s marriage.

He was impressed that she decided to learn how to pilot a plane in 1986 and they shared a similar sense of humour.

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But once the toe-sucking images emerged, this bond was broken.

Fergie and Andrew have maintained a curious friendship in the years since their divorce and even live together at Royal Lodge.

A royal source told The Sun that Philip “cannot understand why she’s living under the same roof as Andrew after all these years”.

Yet, Fergie’s exile from the Royal Family’s inner circle was lifted in 2013 when she was invited back to Balmoral – but only if she left before Philip arrived.

The two reportedly crossed paths in 2005 at Balmoral, where he “avoided her like the plague”, according to Daily Express royal correspondent Richard Palmer.

Yet in the photographs released for Eugenie’s birthday, Philip and Fergie are positioned next to one another.

It was the first time they had been photographed together in 26 years and suggested their fallout was water under the bridge.

Philip and the Queen were also in the official photographs released to celebrate Princess Beatrice’s surprise low-key wedding in July.

Although Fergie was not included in the images, as mother of the bride she was likely to have crossed paths with the Duke of Edinburgh there, too.

‘Prince Philip Revealed: A Man of His Century’ by Ingrid Seward was published by Simon & Schuster in 2020 and is available here.

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