Prince Philip was often said to have vowed never to be in the same room as Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of his son Andrew, after photographs appeared in a newspaper in 1992 of Sarah topless and having her toes sucked by a lover in the South of France.
Gyles Brandreth, Philip’s official biographer whose book The Final Portrait will be published later this month, has confirmed that long-standing rumor today in the second lengthy excerpt from his book.
Philip, he said, declared “enough was enough” after the pictures appeared. He told Brandreth Fergie was “simply beyond the pale,” and resolved not to have anything more to do with her.
At the time when the pictures were first published, Sarah was staying at the queen’s Scottish country estate of Balmoral. Philip put his resolution into immediate action, as Ferguson herself recalled to Brandreth, saying: “It was ridiculous. As soon as I came in through one door, he’d be falling over the corgis to get out of the other. It was very funny. Except, of course, it wasn’t.”
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Although the queen continued to receive Fergie even after her separation and subsequent divorce from Prince Andrew, Philip made it clear that he had no desire to ever see her again.
Sarah plaintively told Brandreth, “Of course I want to see him. I am the mother of his granddaughters, after all.”
Brandreth said when he raised this with Prince Philip, he just shrugged and said, “But the children come and stay,” adding, “I am not vindictive, but I don’t see the point.”
He described Andrew and Sarah’s post-divorce arrangements which have seen them continue to share a home as “truly bizarre,” adding, “I don’t pretend to understand it.”
Brandreth writes that Fergie and Philip held diametrically opposed views on “bottling up your feelings” which she believed was positively harmful.
Brandreth writes that when her daughters were children she would tell them to stand in the middle of the extensive grounds of their home, Sunninghill Park, and scream.
Brandreth wrote that Sarah then demonstrated, catching him by surprise as she let out a blood-curdling scream.
He writes, “The prospect of encountering his former daughter-in-law screaming in the middle of Sunninghill Park could have been one of the reasons the Duke of Edinburgh decided to give her a wide berth after her separation from Prince Andrew. He regarded reticence as a virtue and self-control as a quality to be admired.”
Philip did not sit down for the 2011 six-parter on the Oprah Winfrey Network Finding Sarah, in which Fergie wept on screen with a TV psychiatrist. He told Brandreth he was in favor of “self-awareness” but against “the endless introspection that seems to be so prevalent these days.” As reported on Monday, he regarded Harry and Meghan’s decision to do a similar interview as “madness.”
Fergie, Brandreth reports, tried to repair relations with Philip but was constantly rebuffed.
For Philip’s 80th birthday, she sent him “a handsome dinner service.” But even here, fate conspired against her, Brandreth writes: “It was supposed to have 12 settings, but it arrived with 13: the ‘sample’ had been included with the set. With Sarah, somehow, something always goes wrong.”
Philip’s alleged vow to never be in the same room as Fergie was broken only when they both attended the wedding of Prince Harry at Windsor Castle in May 2018.