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.
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”.
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