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The Queen was “furious” when pictures emerged showing Sarah, Duchess of York in a compromising situation with her lover John Bryan in 1992. Her Majesty had retreated to Balmoral with the rest of the Royal Family for her annual summer break and was blindsided by the publication of a series of X-rated pictures. The scandalous photographs had the Duchess of York scrambling from the royal residence back to London with her two young daughters.
Speaking to Channel 5 documentary ‘Fergie and Andrew: The Duke and Duchess of Disaster’, expert Ingrid Seward said: “Sarah took one look around the dining room and thought, ‘oh but for the grace of God go the lot of you, I’m going ’ so she went back upstairs.
“Obviously she had to see the Queen and the Queen – remember, these two are fairly close – was furious with her. Just furious.”
Royal expert Richard Kay claimed Mr Bryan had asked to view an early copy of the papers and had reassured Sarah “everything will be ok.”
Writing years after the scandal broke, Mr Kay wrote: “Bryan promised her everything would be fine, but I could see in his face that he didn’t really believe it.
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“In a few short hours, those pictures were going to be on the breakfast room sideboard in the Queen’s castle. They would also be winging around the world to be pored over by millions.”
Later reports suggested the Queen personally asked Fergie to head back to London with young Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, who was two at the time.
A car filled with luggage was spotted leaving Balmoral hours after the first edition of the papers had reached the Royal Family and the Duchess of York was later seen boarding a commercial flight back to London.
Royal commentator Katie Nicholl said: “It spelt the end of Fergie’s life as a royal.
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“And that was absolutely devastating for her.”
Rumours of marriage trouble between Fergie and Prince Andrew had begun to circulate in the late 1980s, when the Duchess of York was linked to Texan billionaire Steve Wyatt after the pair met in Australia when she was pregnant with Princess Eugenie.
Prince Andrew had been serving as a helicopter pilot and served on active duty in the Middle East, spending months at the time away from Sarah Ferguson.
The publication of the scandalous snaps put an end to Royal Family attempts to contain rumours about their relationship and Andrew and Fergie confirmed their separation in 1992.
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Their divorce was officialised in 1996, with the terms granting Sarah the right to continue using her Duchess of York title but removing the HRH style.
Despite their divorce, Andrew and Fergie maintained a close relationship and continued to raise Beatrice and Eugenie together.
The Duke of York only moved out of their Windsor home Sunninghill Park in 2004 to relocate in his late grandmother’s home, Royal Lodge.
The Duke and Duchess of York have been spotted on family holidays together with their two daughters on several occasions through the years, and the pair have spent part of the lockdown together with their daughter Eugenie and her husband James Brooksbank in Windsor.
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