Sarah Ferguson joins Prince Andrew to look at floral tributes left outside Windsor Castle


Sarah Ferguson was seen for the first time today since the Queen’s death, as she joined ex-husband Prince Andrew at Windsor.

The Duchess of York was pictured looking at floral tributes left in memory of the late monarch outside the castle this morning.

The mother-of-two, known as Fergie, missed out on the Balmoral walkabout with her daughters earlier this week and also didn’t attend the funeral procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday.

However, the Duchess is thought to have been invited to the funeral on Monday. 

She was last seen glued to her phone at Venice airport on Thursday ahead of the announcement of the death of her former mother-in-law, whom she called her ‘greatest mentor’. 

Fergie was married to the Queen’s ‘favourite son’ for 10 years before they split in 1992 and divorced in 1996, but has continued to live with the Duke in their home of the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

She previously described them as ‘the happiest divorced couple in the world’, living under the same roof, but with their own rooms. ‘We support each other like pillars of strengths,’ she added.

The 62-year-old recently vowed to stand by the prince after he stepped back from frontline royal duties and was stripped of his military titles and patronages in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, and described him as ‘a very good and kind man’.

Sarah Ferguson was seen for the first time today since the Queen’s death, as she joined ex-husband Prince Andrew at Windsor

The Duchess of York was pictured looking at floral tributes left in memory of the late monarch outside the castle this morning

The Duchess of York was pictured looking at floral tributes left in memory of the late monarch outside the castle this morning

Sarah Ferguson was seen for the first time today since the Queen's death, as she joined ex-husband Prince Andrew at Windsor

Sarah Ferguson was seen for the first time today since the Queen’s death, as she joined ex-husband Prince Andrew at Windsor 

The mother-of-two, who shares her two daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie with Andrew, has sparked a raft of royal scandals over the years.

She famously fell out with the Duke of Edinburgh after she was photographed having her toes sucked by her financial adviser in the south of France five months after splitting from Andrew. 

Philip had described the duchess as ‘odd’ and ‘pointless’, and would even ask for her to leave Balmoral, the royal estate in Scotland, during holidays before he arrived.

The Duchess was said to be a ‘bag of nerves’ at meeting Philip. Despite their much-publicised feud, the mother of the bride had to stand behind the left shoulder of her former father-in-law for photographs in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. 

She did not attend Prince Philip’s funeral amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and didn’t join her family at the memorial service earlier this year either.

While more than 1,500 guests packed into Westminster Abbey to remember the Duke of Edinburgh, including members of the Queen’s extended royal family, one notable absentee was the Duchess. 

Despite tensions with Prince Philip, it was known that Fergie was significantly closer to the Queen, and she is believed to have been a shoulder of support following the Duke’s death at the age of 99 last April.

Since then, she  was allowed somewhat back into the fold – visiting the Queen’s Scotland retreat Balmoral with her ex-husband in August last year.

The Duchess had been invited to the Deeside castle in previous years, but had stayed for just a few days until the Duke of Edinburgh joined the Queen.

Royal watchers believed that the Queen, who had a soft spot for her former daughter-in-law, was more receptive to the idea of Sarah returning to a more prominent role within the Firm after the Duke’s death.

Fergie recently vowed to stand by her ex-husband after he was stripped of his military roles and patronages, describing him as ‘very good and kind’.

She made the comments during an interview with Iain Dale on LBC following Andrew’s settlement with Virginia Giuffre over sexual assault claims earlier this year.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York look at floral tributes laid by people near Windsor Castle, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York look at floral tributes laid by people near Windsor Castle, following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York look at floral tributes laid by people near Windsor Castle, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York look at floral tributes laid by people near Windsor Castle, following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

Discussing her first historical novel, Her Heart For A Compass, she added that she was thankful their daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, ‘have got him’. 

Asked about maintaining a good relationship with Andrew after their divorce, Ferguson said: ‘He’s a very good and kind man. He really understands the art of communication with me and trust.

‘We really do communicate, compromised with compassion. I will stand by him. It’s an incredible friendship and not just co-parenting, it’s just real.

‘Thank goodness the girls have got [him]. He’s very Naval and ‘this is how it’s done’ and very royal life and then they have the river running by which is me.’

Fergie also spoke to Times Radio and was asked whether she would still choose to marry the duke if she could turn back time.

She 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.’

Following news of the Queen’s death, Fergie wrote on social media: ‘I am heartbroken by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. 

‘She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy: the most fantastic example of duty and service and steadfastness, and a constant steadying presence as our head of state for more than 70 years. 

‘She has given her whole life selflessly to the people of the UK and the Commonwealth.

‘To me, she was the most incredible mother-in-law and friend. I will always be grateful to her for the generosity she showed me in remaining close to me even after my divorce. I will miss her more than words can express.’

The Duchess of York looked serious as she left Venice on Thursday, following a glitzy appearance at the film festival

The Duchess of York looked serious as she left Venice on Thursday, following a glitzy appearance at the film festival

And the Duchess was among the first to publicly pay tribute to her former mother-in-law the Queen following her death aged 96

And the Duchess was among the first to publicly pay tribute to her former mother-in-law the Queen following her death aged 96

This evening, Andrew is set to be given special dispensation to wear his military colours, when the Queen’s four children will hold another vigil.

He will join King Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Edward in standing guard, having also done so at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh earlier this week. 

The exception was made for the Duke of York to wear uniform for the vigil at Westminster Hall as a ‘final mark of respect’ for his mother.

He is expected to wear the full military dress uniform of a Vice Admiral of the Navy – the only military rank that he still holds.

The senior royals are expected to replicate the ceremonial act they performed in Edinburgh, where they ‘took guard’ of their late mother’s coffin for 10 minutes.

Each stood on one of the four corners of the oak coffin with their heads bowed as part of the royal cortège known as the ‘Vigil of the Princes’. It was the first time the tradition has taken place since 2002.

There have been two such ceremonies in the past: in 1936, with the death of King George V in 1936, and in 2002, during the Queen Mother’s funeral.

That vigil was attended by the royal’s four grandsons – King Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and the Earl of Snowdon.

The Queen: All you need to know following her passing and a look back at her 70-year reign

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