Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Why Sarah Ferguson deserves second chance with Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew and Sarah Duchess of York visiting Jersey.
Family portrait: Sarah and her daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice
Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Andrew and Sarah Duchess of York at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

The word "charming" isn't frequently used nowadays. If at all it will be in a sarcastic manner.

But reports that Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are "walking out together" after decades of separation and divorce surely can be described as a charming turn of events.

The "original Fergie", though disliked by the mainstream media for her clumsiness, natural exuberance and, let's face it, red hair, was for a while a real breath of fresh air in the monarchy – unstuffy and a bit racy.

Her prime was remarkable for its alliteration – every adjective applied to Fergie began with F: fun, flame-haired, fat, frumpy, feisty. Even now she evokes an Eighties era of accessory hell, with all those huge bows she wore in her flowing locks.

Most women had a soft spot for her because of her ability to walk into a fashion disaster. And she was also that rare thing among royal princesses and duchesses – both a woman with a past and a woman with curves.

The decline of the Yorks' marriage while less dramatic than the disintegration of the Wales' union (though only the Titanic story could rival that) did involve many of the pressures which were soon to engulf the heir to the throne himself.

She was downmarket at times perhaps – the infamous toe-sucking incident will live forever in the annals of the Royal family – but Fergie's game efforts over 20 years to sustain herself as a public figure deserve credit. Admirably, she and Andrew have maintained a close friendship with none of the bitter War of the Wales fall-out.

Fair enough there were some gaffes – she was fake shieked over selling access to the Duke of York – but it has to be said the Duke was busy gathering his own gaffes by the armful over the same period, from bathing beauties in the Caribbean to seedy paedophiles in New York.

Still, the pilot and the duchess look set to give it another rattle.

And wouldn't it be nice if it all did come right in the end?

Maybe it was actually a love-match all along.

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