How Sarah Ferguson’s marriage to Andrew broke down

Prince Andrew leaves Sandringham Christmas day service

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Sarah Ferguson’s marriage to Prince Andrew broke down after she spent eight months alone while pregnant. Fergie told Rosie magazine Prince Philip had forbidden her from living with her naval husband where he was stationed.

The Duchess claimed she spent eight months alone while pregnant as her husband’s career in the Royal Navy forced them to live apart for long periods.

In an interview with US TV host Ernie Manouse in 2010, the Duchess of York 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. For our marriage, I saw him 40 days a year.”

Sarah and Andrew were childhood friends, but they lost touch and had not spoken for years before Diana, Princess of Wales, invited her to Royal Ascot in 1985 where she was seated next to Elizabeth II’s second son.

The pair started dating and got engaged nine months later on February 19, 1986, which also happened to be Andrew’s 26th birthday.

They were married at Westminster Abbey, before kissing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in front of a crowd of 100,000.

Two years later, their daughter Beatrice arrived followed by Eugenie in 1990. However, cracks were starting to appear.

After weeks of speculation and rumours Fergie was having an affair with American Steve Wyatt, the Yorks separated in January 1992.


A statement issued at the time read: “In view of the media speculation which the Queen finds especially undesirable during the general election campaign, Her Majesty is issuing the following statement…

“Last week, lawyers acting for the Duchess of York initiated discussions about a formal separation for the Duke and Duchess. These discussions are not yet completed and nothing will be said until they are.”

Renewed interest in the marriage break up comes in the week Channel 4 aired a musical based on the Duke of York’s life.

The broadcaster promoted the musical with a mobile billboard outside the branch of a pizza chain restaurant Andrew referred to in a Newsnight interview.

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The van carrying the slogan “If you miss it, you’d better have a decent alibi” – a reference to his disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis – appeared outside Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, on Thursday morning.

Prince Andrew: The Musical, starring Kieran Hodgson, features a cast of comics and drag queens and is described as a “satirical send-up” set to seven original musical numbers.

Andrew stepped down from public life in November 2019 amid the fallout from the BBC interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in August that year.

The Duke denied claims he had sex with Virginia Giuffre, who said she was trafficked by Epstein on three separate occasions, including when she was 17 – still a minor under US law.

Ms Giuffre said one alleged encounter began with the Duke sweating heavily as they danced at London nightclub Tramp.

But Andrew told Maitlis he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat and he had no recollection of ever meeting Ms Giuffre.

He also insisted he spent the day taking one of his daughters to the Pizza Express in Woking for a party.

Andrew later settled his US sexual assault case out of court, although the agreement was not an admission of guilt from the Duke and he has always strenuously denied the allegations against him.

In the hour-long TV musical, Maitlis is played by actress and comedian Emma Sidi, known for Starstruck and Stath Lets Flats.

Munya Chawawa, Harry Enfield and Joe Wilkinson also feature.

It is available to stream on All 4.

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