Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s relationship came back firmly into public attention during the national mourning period for the Queen.
The Duke and Duchess of York have been divorced since 1996 but have kept their relationship in the gossip columns thanks to them living under the same roof when “Fergie” is in the UK.
Andrew was seen looking as if he was fighting back tears during his mother’s funeral procession on Monday (September 19).
Ferguson attended the state funeral at Westminster Abbey and was seen with the pair’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
Before the funeral, she also accompanied her ex-husband and children in Windsor to inspect floral tributes to the late monarch.
Despite being split from the Queen’s son for 30 years, the 62-year-old continues to regularly mingle with the royal family.
In fact, when the Duke was accused of sexual assault, his ex-wife was one of his most prominent backers.
When did Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson meet?
Prince Andrew met his future wife, who is a descendant of Charles II and has an aristocratic background, when they were children and would see each other at polo matches when growing up.
But it was not until they were seated together at Royal Ascot in 1985 that they started dating.
Andrew proposed only nine months later with a ruby engagement ring and they married in 1986 in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey, sharing a kiss on Buckingham Palace’s balcony afterwards.
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The couple were seen to rival Charles and Diana, the then-Prince and Princess of Wales, in terms of popularity, with Fergie adding some added glamour to what were seen as stuffy royal circles.
The Queen’s fifth grandchild, Beatrice, was born to them in 1988 and her sixth, Eugenie, in 1990.
However, the marriage was not to last.
Yorks' painful split
The couple separated after Andrew's duties as an officer in the Royal Navy caused him to be away for the best part of the year.
Speaking to US TV host Ernie Manouse in 2010, Sarah said: “My deal was that I was marrying my man, who happened to be a prince and a naval officer.
“But what I got was not the man, I got the palace and didn’t get him… and the courtiers told me I had to go to Buckingham Palace and he had to go to sea.
“For our marriage, I saw him 40 days a year.”
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Sarah and Andrew’s split formed part of the Queen’s “annus horribilis” in 1992, a year that would see the collapse of three of her children’s marriages.
The Yorks went first, starting the year with a meeting in January with the Queen to announce their intention to break up.
After discussing it with the monarch at Sandringham, the couple agreed to delay any decision for six months.
But when photos emerged of a topless Duchess having her toes sucked by Texan businessman John Bryan — described as her financial adviser — the pair sought a legal divorce.
Sarah and Andrew announced their separation on March 19, 1992, with Buckingham Palace announcing that Sarah would no longer be carrying out any public engagements on behalf of the Queen.
After four years of separation, the couple officially announced their divorce, with the duchess saying she received £15,000 per year as part of a settlement.
A decree nisi was granted on April 17, 1996, and their divorce was finalised on May 30 of the same year, during which she legally retained Her Royal Highness (HRH) style, similar to other divorced peeresses.
Sarah however chose not to use her Her Royal Highness title and relinquished it as part of their divorce.
Are Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson back together?
While the couple have remained close, they have denied rumours that they have rekindled their romance.
Despite their split and the fact that their daughters are now both in their 30s, Sarah and Andrew continue to live together at Royal Lodge in Windsor when she is in the UK.
Speaking to Times Radio about their living arrangements, the duchess said: "I spend so much time out of the country, doing my philanthropic work, that when I do come back in, I'm very lucky to be able to stay here.
"It would be very wrong if I said it was my home, it's a place where we are a united front with the girls, it's their home.
"And now my grandchildren come here and I have always believed in communication, compromise and compassion.”
It is not only a house that the two share either, but holidays as well.
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In 2019, Sarah and Andrew enjoyed a getaway to Bahrain with Beatrice and her now-husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
Sarah posted pictures online from the trip saying what a “wonderful time” she was having with her ex-husband and their daughter.
At the end of a series of official engagements in Bahrain, she and Andrew attended the Bahrain Grand Prix. It prompted rumours that the couple had revived their relationship.
But a spokesperson for the Duchess of York said at the time: "The Duke and Duchess of York continue to be good friends and nothing has changed in their relationship."
How Fergie has stood by Andrew
Over the years, Sarah has spoken out many times in support of her ex-husband and in 2000 even claimed she and Andrew had thought of remarrying but said Prince Philip wouldn't allow it.
The Queen was meant to have been more forgiving, however, with reports she used to invite Fergie to Balmoral for summer visits.
Fergie has previously spoken about how she and Prince Andrew “never really left each other" and has admitted they would have worked harder at keeping their marriage together if they had the chance to do things again.
In January 2022, Prince Andrew was stripped by the Queen of his HRH title and all his honorary military roles following controversy surrounding a legal case in the US.
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Virginia Giuffre was suing the Queen's second son for sexual abuse, saying Andrew had sex with her when she was 17 and had been trafficked by his friend, the billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Andrew has always denied the allegations and said he had no recollection of meeting Virginia.
It was announced earlier this year that the case had been settled, with reports Andrew had agreed to pay his accuser around £12m.
Before the case was settled, Andrew's former wife was one of his most vocal supporters.
Sarah Ferguson told Times Radio: “I will stand very firmly by Andrew who is a very good and kind man and that's what I believe."
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