Prince Andrew and Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson Cheating Scandal, Explained

They might seem prim and proper, but—as anyone who watches The Crown knows—the royal family lives for the drama. And no one brings the drama harder, better, faster, or stronger than the Queen’s son Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, a terrifying place filled with public toe-sucking!

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How They Met

Andrew and Fergie have actually known each other since they were little kids, and grew up going to the same polo matches and whatnot (the royal equivalent of Tinder, probs). Recalling her time as a young exceedingly posh British girl, Fergie said she used to “play tag with like-minded truants—including Prince Andrew, who was just my age.”

The pair got re-acquainted at the Royal Ascot in 1985, fell in love, and announced their engagement on March 19, 1986. “We were made to sit next to each other,” Andrew said in their engagement interview. “It was at Ascot, as it were, that the whole thing took off. But it wasn’t Ascot, as such, when we realized that there was anything in it. It was later on.”

Cute fact before we get to the drama: Andrew chose a ruby ring to match Fergie’s red hair.

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What Went Wrong

After having their two daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, Andrew and Fergie’s relationship started becoming strained, and they separated in March 1992. The separation came on the heels of *tons* of rumors (including rumors of infidelity on Fergie’s part), prompting the palace to issue the below statement:

“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. The Queen hopes that the media will spare the Duke and Duchess of York and their children any intrusion.”

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Things got worse when Fergie was photographed with her toes in the mouth of another man (AKA Texan financial advisor John Bryan) while still legally married to Prince Andrew, and the photos were published in The Sun.

“I mean, sucking toes. … It’s not like it was pornographic. It was just so undignified,” People magazine senior editor Anne-Marie O’Neill told CNN in 2002. “And the tabloids had such a good time with it that it really was the first time that the royal family was opened up to such ridicule.”

Fergie did address the images eventually, saying “I remember seeing it and just going, oh no, Sarah. And that’s when Caroline, my best friend in the world, do you remember Caroline? She said to me, ‘Now you need help, Sarah.’

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How the Royal Family Dealt with It

Not great! Especially because Andrew and Fergie were living together just a year after their 1996 divorce! Per The Telegraph, Princess Margaret (the Queen’s sister) wrote Fergie a super cut-throat letter in response to some flowers Fergie sent, saying “You have done more to bring shame on the family than could ever have been imagined.” She also mused, “Not once have you hung your head in embarrassment even for a minute after those disgraceful photographs. Clearly you have never considered the damage you are causing us all. How dare you discredit us like this and how dare you send me those flowers?”

Fergie didn’t exactly make things better by going down a VERY Thomas Markle-y path in order to clear her debts, when she reportedly made a deal with reporters in exchange for money. She also made a cameo on Friends, which the royals can’t have been thrilled about!

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Where They Are Now

Nowadays, Fergie and Andrew are reunited and it feels so good. While still technically divorced, the former lovebirds are said to still live together (Eugenie said, “They are the best divorced couple I know.”), and apparently their close relationship brings major side-eyes from Prince Charles.

Charles and Fergie’s tense relationship was most recently reported on during Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding thanks to Fergie being snubbed from Charles’ reception. “Numbers are limited to the evening party, she is not a member of the Royal Family any more and Prince Charles simply doesn’t have time for her,” a source said. “He just can’t see why she is still such a big part of his brother’s life.”

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Prince Philip also reportedly has beef with Fergie for the bad press she’s brought the royals (the toe-sucking really irked him), and a source told the Daily Mail “He has held a grudge against her for a long, long time and normally refuses to even be in the same room as her.”

So Will They Get Back Together…Like, Officially?

Unclear! Back in 1999, Fergie said “I know everyone wants the fairytale of Andrew and I getting back together. But just as I can’t make plans for the millennium I can’t make plans about what’s going to happen with us. We are the happiest divorced couple in the world, definitely. Some people are happily married. Well, we’re very happily divorced. It might sound strange but we believe very firmly in what we’ve got.”

But now that lil’ Prince Louis has bumped Andrew to 7th in line to the throne, he no longer needs his mom’s permission to marry. This is thanks to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which stipulates that only the first six people in the line of succession (AKA Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and Prince Harry) need permission to get hitched. So there’s definitely hope!

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