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Sarah Ferguson: Will ex-wife ‘stay steadfast’ for Prince Andrew’?

llast month, with storm clouds gathering over Windsor as the Duke of York pinned his hopes on a US judge who dismissed the civil lawsuit against him, his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, appeared on Italian TV.

Fergie – as she is known by her birth name Sarah Ferguson – promoted her Mills & Boon novel Her Heart for a Compass and was effusive in her praise for Prince Andrew. “I fully support Andrew,” she told the talk show Porta a Porta.

The happiest day of her life, she continued, was her wedding day in 1986, “when I married the best man in the world.”

As character witnesses say, this was a wonderful testimony, especially coming from a woman who has been separated from her husband for 25 years.

Today, permanently stripped of his military ties and royal patronage, banned from the official royal court, and faced with a relentless legal battle to clear his name – which he has promised to continue – few Andrew seem true. he can turn for unconditional support.

But one who has stood firm all the time is his ex-wife.

The Duke and Duchess on their wedding day. Photo: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Once described, by the Duchess herself, as “the happiest divorced couple in the world”, the relationship between the Duke and Duchess is undoubtedly unconventional.

“Who knows what the relationship really is. It seems utterly bizarre,” said royal author Penny Junor.

They still live together – if she’s in the UK – in Royal Lodge, the former home of the Queen Mother in Windsor, on which Andrew has a 75-year lease. After all, with its reported 30 rooms and 21 secluded acres, there’s plenty of room. Though to call it her home, Ferguson told the Sunday Times last year, “would be presumptuous”.

They happily holidayed together with their daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, sparking constant speculation about reconciliation and remarriage – rumors that grew after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, reportedly not a fan of the Duchess.

When asked directly on the ITV show Loose Women in August if a newfound romance was in store, she waved it aside. “Oh, goddamn it,” she replied, “you’re all fairytales, you’ve all got your wands out. Andrew and I stand firm, in the past we were co-parenting and now we are co-grandparents.”

Junor said: “She hasn’t just stood still beside him. She really speaks out in favor of him.”

The Duke now seemed an isolated figure, Junor added. “He used to be a big party goer. Those days seem to be over. He’s a sad and lonely figure these days, I think. We see him driving, but always alone. It’s the daughters I feel most sorry for who get caught up in this. It must be very difficult for them.”

It’s not the first storm the couple rides out together. They split in 1992, months before photos of the Duchess being tip-toe by her financial adviser John Bryan appeared on the front pages while she was in Balmoral with the Queen — an “excruciatingly embarrassing” moment, she has since said.

In 2010, the financially challenged Duchess was cornered by the now-defunct News of the World, which allegedly tried to sell an undercover journalist access to Andrew for £500,000, for which she was forced to apologize for her ” serious mistake”. of judgment”.

Timeline

Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew

Show

1999

early 90s, Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell, met investment banker and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Their relationship was initially romantic, but it evolved into something more akin to Maxwell as a confidante and personal assistant.

Prince Andrew was reportedly introduced to Epstein in 1999 through Maxwell, and reportedly visited Epstein the Queen‘s private retreat in Aberdeenshire.

Some have suggested that the introduction was made earlier. a 2011 letter to the Times of London of the Prince’s private secretary at the time, Alastair Watson, suggests Andrew and Epstein knew each other from the early 90s.

2000

Andrew, Maxwell and Epstein can be seen together on Donald TrumpFlorida’s Mar-a-Lago Club. Later that year, Epstein and Maxwell attend a joint birthday party at Windsor Castle, hosted by the Queen.

2001

Andrew and Epstein are vacationing together and are pictured on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand, surrounded by topless women. The Times of London reported that the prince’s vacation was paid for by Epstein.

In the same year, Virginia Giuffre, then 17, claims to have had sex with Andrew at Maxwell’s home in Belgravia, London. Giuffre, whose last name was Roberts at the time of the alleged incidents, says she slept with Andrew twice more, at Epstein’s New York home and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean.

2008

Epstein is sentenced to 18 months in prison by a Florida court after pleading guilty to prostitution of minors.

2010

Shortly after his release, Epstein is visited by Andrew in New York. The couple was photographed together in Central Park. Years later, footage resurfaced, reportedly taken on December 6, that appears to show Andrew in Epstein’s Manhattan mansion saying goodbye to a woman from behind a door.

2011

Andrew quits his role as UK trade envoy after furore over the photos of Central Park.

2015

Allegations that Andrew had sex with Giuffre are surfacing in Florida court documents relating to Epstein. According to the papers, she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is under Florida law. Buckingham Palace denies the allegations. The claims against Andrew are later dropped from US civil courts following a federal judge’s ruling.

2019

Andrew is accused of sexual impropriety by a second alleged Epstein victim, Johanna Sjoberg. She claims he touched her chest in the billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace says the allegations are “categorically false”.

August 10, 2019

Epstein is found dead in his prison cell after being re-arrested and charged with sex trafficking. A coroner says the death was a suicide. A pilot on Epstein’s private jet later that month claims Andrew was a passenger on previous flights with the financier and Giuffre.

Nov 2019

Andrew takes part in a disastrous BBC TV interview where he claims he couldn’t have had sex with Giuffre because he was home after visiting Pizza Express in Woking, and that her description of his dancing with her beforehand couldn’t be true because he was unable to sweat, and that he “had no recollection of ever meeting this lady”. After several days of negative reaction, Andrew announces that he will retire from public duties “for the foreseeable future.”

January 27, 2020

US prosecutor Geoffrey Berman issues a public statement suggesting there has been “zero collaboration” with Andrew’s investigation.

June 8, 2020

After Berman again alleges that Andrew “completely closed the door” to his cooperation with the US investigation in March, lawyers for the prince insist he has repeatedly offered to cooperate, accusing US prosecutors of misleading the public. and violate confidentiality.

july 2020

Rarely seen in public in recent years, Maxwell is arrested by the FBI on Epstein-related charges. Unsealed testimony from a 2015 civil suit reveals a range of allegations about her role in Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, including allegations that she trained underage girls to be sex slaves.

September 24, 2021

US officials confirm Prince Andrew has received court documents related to a civil lawsuit for assaulting Giuffre, in which he is seeking damages. Her lawyers had previously said the duke had officially been given the papers, but his legal team had disputed the claim. Two weeks later, a New York court gave its attorneys permission to access the confidential settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein.

October 11, 2021

The Metropolitan Police in London say they will not take further action after a review of allegations that Prince Andrew assaulted Giuffre. In August, the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, had said that “no one is above the law” and that she had asked her team to reconsider the material.

December 30, 2021

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial ends with a conviction in five of the six cases she faced.

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In 2012, another fawning apology for a “massive error of judgment on my behalf” followed revelations that she allowed convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to provide £15,000 to pay off her debts.

Unpleasant the evening standard, she spoke of her remorse and how her actions “had inadvertently affected the man I most admire in the world, the Duke”. She would “throw herself under a bus for him,” she continued, and she would “not back down and let him take further advantage of any suggestion or implication of impropriety.”

Now Andrew is fighting for what’s left of his reputation, already tarnished by his friendships with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently convicted of charges related to recruiting and grooming young women for Epstein.

As he decides to make his next move to defend himself against claims — which he denies — by Virginia Giuffre that he had sex with her three times when she was 17 and had been trafficked by Epstein, a person he can count on. , it seems, is his ex-wife.

  • Information and support for anyone involved in rape or sexual abuse is available from the following organizations. In the U.S, Rainn offers support at 800-656-4673. In the United Kingdom, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 802 9999. In Australia, support is available at: 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at: ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html