I’ve no regrets about marrying Prince Andrew – he’s a good and kind man, says Fergie as she reveals she would do it all again if she had her time over
- Sarah Ferguson, 62, described her ex-husband Prince Andrew as a ‘good man’
- Duchess of York said she would still marry the disgraced duke if it was 1986
- Despite divorce, she glowingly referred to their wedding as an ‘exceptional day’
- Her comments come after Andrew was ‘banished’ from Garter Day appearances
The Duchess of York has described the disgraced Duke of York as a ‘good and kind man’ amid speculation he is pushing for a return to royal life.
Sarah Ferguson, 62, made the comments during an interview with Times Radio on Tuesday morning after Prince Andrew’s settlement with Virginia Giuffre over sexual assault claims earlier this year.
Asked if she would still choose to marry the duke if she could turn back time, Ferguson gushingly replied: ‘Oh, yes – he’s a very good and kind man’.
Referring their wedding day, she added: ‘And it was an exceptional day, July 23 1986. And it was just extraordinary.
‘I think my life is an amazing life. I think I’ve been very lucky. And I am now just beginning my life again. And I think it’s pretty cool to be able to say that.’
Her comments come just days after Andrew was seemingly banished during Garter Day, one of the most colourful events in the royal calendar, after the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge reportedly lobbied the Queen about his participation.
The duke was reportedly left ‘crushed and confused’ after he was banned from attending the service on Monday, Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie has claimed.
The controversial decision was clearly taken at the 11th hour, because Andrew’s name was on the order of service. A source told the Evening Standard: ‘The Duke of Cambridge was adamant. If York insisted on taking part publicly, he would withdraw’.
Meanwhile, a palace insider said that the decision to exclude Andrew from the public elements of today’s Garter Day was a ‘family decision’.
The Duchess of York has described her ex-husband Prince Andrew as a ‘good and kind man’
Asked if she would still choose to marry the Duke if she could turn back time, Ferguson gushingly replied: ‘Oh, yes – he’s a very good and kind man’. Pictured: The pair together at Royal Ascot in 2015
Mrs Ferguson later told the programme: ‘And, you know, I will stand very firmly by Andrew… a very good and kind man and that’s what I believe.
‘We are divorced. I think it’s very important, Mariella, that people realise that I don’t spend long here in England, because I don’t wish to. I’d much prefer being out.
‘I’ve built 156 schools in Africa and Poland. And, you know, and I just want to keep going doing my philanthropy work.’
Despite divorcing in 1996, Sarah and Andrew have remained on such good terms that they still share Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s former home, on the Windsor estate, and regularly visit the Queen together at Windsor Castle.
She previously described them as ‘the happiest divorced couple in the world’, living under the same roof at Royal Lodge, Windsor, but with their own rooms.
‘We support each other like pillars of strengths,’ she added.
In 2014, they spent about £13 million on a chalet in the upmarket Swiss ski resort of Verbier with both of their names on the deeds.
This week it emerged a freezing order has been placed on the Duke of York’s controversial £18million retreat in the Swiss resort of Verbier which is in the process of being sold – reportedly to help him pay off sex abuse accuser Virginia.
The legal move will guarantee that a Swiss couple, with whom the duke struck up a business arrangement, will receive the reported £1.6million owed to them by the Queen’s second son, sources have said.
The disgraced royal had previously owed Isabelle de Rouvre more than £6million for the chalet until last year. Sources close to the duke insist the freezing order is not holding up the chalet’s sale.
Despite divorcing in 1996, Sarah and Andrew have remained on such good terms that they still share Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s former home, on the Windsor estate, and regularly visit the Queen together at Windsor Castle
Her comments come just days after Andrew was seemingly banished during Garter Day, one of the most colourful events in the royal calendar, after the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge reportedly lobbied the Queen about his participation
It came amid reports that Andrew has pushed for a return to royal duties but his older brother Prince Charles and nephew Prince William had asked the Queen not to give in to the disgraced royal. Her Majesty apparently informed him to keep out of sight ‘for his own good’.
Andrew, 62, was stripped of his official duties at the start of the year as he prepared to pay a multi-million-pound settlement to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slave Virginia Roberts Giuffre to keep her allegations of sexual abuse, which he denies, out of court.
But last night, the duke – who missed the Jubilee celebrations a week ago because he had Covid – dramatically pulled out of today’s Order of the Garter ceremony, despite being a member of the ancient order of chivalry.
Charles and William were said to have blocked Andrew from appearing at today’s Order of the Garter ceremony after lobbying the Queen, according to The Sun.
In a last-minute U-turn, the prince backed out of attending public aspects of the annual ceremony at Windsor. He will still attend a private lunch with the Queen and other members of the order.
Buckingham Palace had insisted that Andrew would attend the ceremony, because the honour was given to him in a personal capacity by the Queen.
But behind the scenes there was deep concern about the spectacle of the shamed prince walking in his robes in public. There were also fears he could be booed. The Queen is reported to have asked him to stay out of public sight and only attend private elements of today’s event. It also appears that his wish to represent her at Royal Ascot has been binned.
Despite this, he remains ninth in line to the throne – and a Counsellor of State – meaning he will stand in for the Queen if she is incapacitated and Charles and William are abroad.
Prince Andrew lives in the grounds of Windsor Castle and is said to have daily contact with his mother.
Weeks after she stripped him of his titles, the Queen asked him to accompany her to Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey in March, where he walked his mother down the aisle in a highly symbolic moment.
But palace aides – as well as his relatives – are said to have been clear that the strength of public feeling against over his links to Epstein, must preclude him from taking part in frontline royal duties.
Despite his non-appearance today, the duke believes he should be included in other royal and state events, The Daily Telegraph reported.
‘The colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards was his most coveted title and he wants it back,’ a source said.
‘Having remained a Counsellor of State, he also believes he should be included at royal and state events. Most importantly for him is his status as an HRH and ‘Prince of the Blood’ and he feels that should be reinstated and his position recognised and respected.’
Prince Andrew, 61, is privately preparing to hand over ‘personal documents’ in an intrusive process that could see relatives, Royal aides and even ex-wife Sarah Ferguson dragged into his legal proceedings. Pictured together in 2019
The Palace and Andrew’s spokesman last night declined to comment on the claims. But one royal insider suggested that, whether he had asked or not, there should be no expectation of being welcomed back.
The insider said the duke could ‘lobby all he wanted, if indeed he has, but whether he would ever get anything back is an entirely different matter’.
An aide said the statement from January in which he was stripped of his roles ‘with the Queen’s approval and agreement’, still ‘speaks for itself’.
Prince Charles is understood to be prominent among those who feel he must be kept at arm’s length to avoid damaging the entire institution of the British monarchy.
Andrew became Colonel of the Grenadier Guards five years ago after his father, Prince Philip, stepped back from public life – and is said to have particularly enjoyed the role.
It is claimed he wanted to wear the formal uniform of the rank at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year, prompting a decision that all royal men would wear civilian morning coats to avoid any embarrassment.
A royal source said at the weekend that the ‘Andrew problem’ needed fixing. Another source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Clearly at some point soon, thought will have to be given as to how to support the duke as, [away] from the public gaze, he seeks slowly to rebuild his life in a different direction.’
There was the suggestion that one option could see the duke spending more time in Scotland but a full-time move there is thought to be unlikely.
Royal biographer Angela Levin said: ‘Andrew should be ashamed of himself.
‘His demand to return to duty was outrageous. It clearly showed he was not concerned about what happened with his court case.
‘He was not found guilty – but, my goodness, there is a massive amount of grubbiness surrounding him.’
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