Final October, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and Prince Andrew watched their daughter Princess Eugenie marry Jack Brooksbank at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Because the newlyweds drove away from the ceremony, the mom of the bride waved fortunately, providing a bit “we did it!” fist pump within the couple’s path. After which she went dwelling along with her ex-husband.

Sure, there’s a bit bit to unpack between A and B.

The Duke and Duchess of York have been divorced for virtually 23 years and separated 4 years earlier than that, and seemingly each facet of their cut up resulted in as a lot scandal as is humanly potential—however like quite a lot of well-known exes, they’ve not too long ago been the topic of reconciliation rumors in a lot of their roughly 8,000 native tabloids (and in Australia, which is a Commonwealth realm, in any case), most not too long ago as a result of Sarah accompanied her ex on a royal go to to Bahrain.

There’s even been hypothesis that they’ll remarry, which might be a primary for the British royals. And since Prince Louis‘ delivery final April, they do not even want the queen’s permission now that Andrew is simply seventh in line to the throne. (Nos. 1-6 want the monarch’s consent, per 1772’s Royal Marriages Act.)

“The Duke and Duchess stay good buddies as they’ve been for a few years, and nothing has modified,” the duchess’ press workplace advised Vainness Honest final week, whereas a supply additionally relayed to E! Information that “experiences of a reconciliation between Prince Andrew and Sarah are incorrect.”

So, at this juncture, most of that renewed-romance discuss is beginning and stopping within the tabloid places of work themselves, however it’s plain that their post-split life collectively—not less than in the previous couple of years—has been fairly seamless.

Although what an insane street it took to get to this state of home bliss.

It helps to know that, method again when, in 1985, Andrew and the redhead who has since been popularly generally known as “Fergie” fell head over heels in love. Their fathers had performed polo collectively they usually knew one another from childhood, however quite a lot of residing—for Andrew, becoming a member of the Royal Navy, turning into a nationwide hero for his helicopter piloting throughout the Falklands Battle and relationship one girl after one other; for Fergie, secretarial college, work in PR and publishing and relationship a widowed racing mogul whom she wished to marry—had ensued within the interim.

Not like Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who had married in 1981 and had been already residing a life that was all fairy story within the entrance and more and more nightmarish within the again, Sarah and Andrew had so much in frequent and, so far as anybody knew, Andrew—in contrast to his older brother—wasn’t feeling the stress of expectations to discover a bride appropriate to at some point be a queen. (Although there was stress from The Agency for the 25-year-old swingin’ bachelor to cool down.)

As an acquaintance of the royals and Diana (her fourth cousin), Sarah was at Charles and Di’s marriage ceremony, and it was the Princess of Wales—Diana had joked as a teen that she was saving herself for her childhood playmate Andrew, who’s 11 years youthful than Charles—who organized for her previous good friend to be seated subsequent to Andrew at a lunch the queen hosted throughout Royal Ascot week.

On the time, Andrew, like older sister Princess Anne and youthful brother Prince Edward, had a residence in Buckingham Palace, that journalist Tina Brown described in The Diana Chronicles as having “the impersonal high quality of a Harrods showroom, or a collection within the Berkeley Resort with higher photos.”

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew

Tim Graham/Getty Photos

A few month after he proposed with a “barely unconventional” ruby and diamond ring (it was mutually determined upon that she’d have a ruby), Fergie and Andrew’s engagement was introduced on March 19, 1986.

Requested throughout their engagement interview once they each knew it was “the true factor,” they checked out one another and smiled. “Once more, very tough to reply,” Andrew mentioned. “I believe it was in all probability the top of final 12 months, earlier than Christmas maybe, after which it simply kind of carried on from there after Christmas at Sandringham, and past that.”

They had been “superb buddies” at first, Fergie mentioned. He made her eat chocolate profiteroles on the Royal Ascot lunch, which she did not need, Fergie recalled, as a result of she was “meant to be on a food regimen.” 

“There are all the time humble beginnings,” Andrew provided. “It is obtained to begin someplace.”

They married at Westminster Abbey on July 23, 1986, in entrance of two,000 visitors and a reported 500 million watching on TV. 

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew

AP Picture/FILE

Throughout her engagement and all through the remainder of the 1980s, Fergie and Diana remained very shut, the pair sharing the very distinctive standing of being Queen Elizabeth II‘s daughters-in-law, married right into a household that has the very best of expectations, essentially the most explicit of guidelines and little allowance for stepping out of line (although they’ve definitely constructed up their collective tolerance through the years).

They each fretted over their figures, an anxiousness that manifested in years of weight fluctuation for Fergie—a interval of weight achieve prompting one tabloid to cruelly name her the “Duchess of Pork”—and Diana growing bulimia (which, since they barely mentioned even their mother and father’ respective damaged marriages, they might by no means have talked about regardless of on a regular basis spent collectively). 

Aside from that, all the things was grand at first.

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, 1986

Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock

The queen loved Fergie an awesome deal, even inviting her to dine on the palace solo every so often when Andrew was away (which he was typically, as a still-active navy man), an invite not typically prolonged to Diana. The Duchess of York, having a ballsy humorousness and being outgoing, athletic and a lover of the outside, slot in nicely with the remainder of the sporty clan. Not like Diana, Fergie cherished the household’s annual summer time journeys to Balmoral in Scotland, the place she and the queen would experience horses aspect by aspect. And whereas she was pitted towards Diana within the press from day one and her look scrutinized right down to the final crimson hair and freckle, the media had been charmed by Fergie’s much less regal methods.

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“At 26-years-old, I used to be extremely gullible and naive,” Fergie mirrored years later in her autobiography My Story.

Diana each loved and resented the eye paid to Fergie, because the duchess might each take the onus off the princess, however on the identical time steal her highlight. Through which circumstances, Diana found out a technique to steal it proper again. 

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Princess Diana

Georges De Keerle/Getty Photos

Fergie, in the meantime, cherished her husband however discovered herself in a fractured fairy story. The queen gifted the couple acreage in Berkshire county, on which they constructed their two-story property Sunninghill Park, however they lived at Buckingham Palace till it was completed in 1990. In truth, most royal trimmings of their life-style relied on her mother-in-law’s generosity, as Andrew solely made about £35,000 a 12 months from the navy.

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Queen Elizabeth II

Tim Graham/Getty Photos

And by 1990, Diana and the remainder of the royals’ so-called endurance with Fergie’s antics—which included making an attempt to offset her husband’s relative frugality by doing issues like accepting free merchandise, reminiscent of fur coat that drew ire from animal rights activists—was working skinny. The media had lengthy since washed their arms of optimism with regard to the Duchess of York’s injection of relability, her enthusiastic exhibiting on a actuality TV competitors known as It is a Royal Knockout in 1987—which she did with Andrew and Princess Anne on the behest of Prince Edward—maybe being the ultimate straw.

However so was Fergie’s endurance, rattling round alone at Sunninghill and feeling shunned by the household. So she determined to not be alone.

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Princess Diana

Tim Graham/Getty Photos

In accordance with The Diana Chronices, Andrew solely spent 42 nights at dwelling in 1990 along with his spouse and two youngsters, 2-year-old Beatrice and months-old Eugenie, who was born that March. The Duchess of York began socializing extra, generally with members of the alternative intercourse. Taking Beatrice along with her, she vacationed in Morocco with a gaggle that included American businessman Steve Wyatt. Two years later, stolen pictures from that vacation—whereas it might have been unlawful for U.Ok. papers to run them—had been revealed by Paris Match

Not less than Fergie and Diana reconnected over their crumbling marriages, each of which got here publicly tumbling down in 1992, bookending the queen’s “annus horribilis.”

Andrew and Fergie had advised the queen at Christmastime in 1991 that they deliberate to separate, however the Day by day Mail obtained wind of it in March 1992, forcing their hand with regard to a public announcement (the queen had urged them to attend six months).

In a while, biographer Andrew Morton reportedly mentioned that it was Diana who leaked the information, to as soon as once more take the onus off of her personal troubles (which, later that 12 months, would come with the publishing of Morton’s e book Diana: Her True Story). The palace, nonetheless, suspected Fergie of tipping off the Mail herself.

“I had been tagged ‘unsuitable’ for royal life and the cost caught,” Fergie wrote in her 1996 memoir, My Story. “I used to be frozen out and never simply within the Palace; the wind from all of the doorways slamming in my face might need knocked me over.”

However very similar to Princess Anne and her ex-husband Mark Phillips, who finalized their divorce in April 1992 so she might marry Timothy Laurence later that 12 months, Fergie and Andrew remained buddies. Plus, they nonetheless had two very younger youngsters and, as their extra advanced era was extra inclined to do, each wished to be current for Princess Beatrice and Eugenie. And as their mom, Fergie was nonetheless invited to the annual August vacation at Balmoral.

In truth, the household was at Balmoral when the Mirror revealed a canopy story and inside unfold of pictures of Fergie taken at a villa within the South of France with American monetary supervisor John Bryan. Images confirmed the duchess sunbathing topless and Bryan, infamously, nuzzling her foot—which ceaselessly after turned the nice toe-sucking scandal of 1992.

“I keep in mind seeing it and simply going, ‘oh no, Sarah,'” she recalled, shaking her head, in a CNN interview in 2001. “And my finest good friend on the earth, you keep in mind Caroline, she mentioned to me, ‘Now you need assistance, Sarah…That is loopy, what is going on right here?'” I believe it is a unprecedented story, one which daily I work at, and daily I try to see how and why I did these issues.”

The queen, going via the morning papers, advised her to depart, and off she went again to London with Beatrice and Eugenie in tow. No pun meant.

Fergie mentioned at a 60 Minutes With Sarah Ferguson occasion in 2016 that buddies had been nervous on the time that she may kill herself and that she was certainly devastated by her failed marriage. “These two listed below are the explanation I obtained out,” she mentioned, referring to Beatrice and Eugenie sitting subsequent to her. “It was due to my two women I made a decision that it was essential to get on.”

In accordance with Tina Brown, Fergie ultimately got here to consider that Diana—nonetheless her confidante on the time—had tipped off the paparazzi to her location to once more deflect from her personal mounting pile of scandals. (Regardless of their mid-’90s reconciliation, they did not discuss within the 12 months main as much as Diana’s demise in 1997, reportedly as a result of she was offended at Fergie for claiming in My Story that she developed a wart after borrowing the princess’ footwear.)

In November 1992, Prince Andrew was with the queen at her beloved Windsor Citadel when a hearth tore via 100 rooms (of 1,000) and triggered tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars}, kilos, et al., in injury, one other kind of devastation for the royal household that 12 months. 

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Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, 1994

Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock

Andrew and Fergie survived their numerous embarrassments and continued on as co-parents and seemingly nonetheless very expensive buddies. They spent a lot time collectively that one may even say that they hadn’t separated, that they had “consciously uncoupled.”

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, 1995

Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock

It wasn’t till 1996 that they, like Charles and Diana, settled their divorce. Fergie obtained £600,000 from the queen to purchase a home, which she was instructed to place in her youngsters’s names, and help funds amounting to a reported £15,000 a 12 months. Andrew paid for Beatrice and Eugenie’s education and the queen arrange a £1.four million pound belief for the women. 

Nonetheless the Duchess of York however now not Her Royal Highness, Fergie set about incomes a residing, and she or he did not do it quietly. She scandalized Britain, however Individuals preferred what she was bringing to the desk, which was most notably a profitable weight-loss story that resulted in her turning into a Weight Watchers spokeswoman for the subsequent 10 years. She additionally penned extra books in her Budgie sequence for kids, about a bit helicopter, which was additionally became an animated sequence, and wrote a historical past of Queen Victoria.

Her therapy by the hands of her ex’s household continued to sting, although (and nobody might get sufficient of listening to all about it). “It was so dangerous that I believed I used to be this nugatory human being. I assumed perhaps Prince Philip was proper,” Fergie mentioned in recalling her father-in-law’s response to—and enduring grudge from—these pictures in 1992. Philip had additionally actually preferred his daughter-in-law again within the day, so the frustration was actual.

When Andrew turned 40 in 2000, the queen, Philip, Charles and Edward all skipped the social gathering, supposedly to keep away from Fergie.

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, 2000

Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock

However Andrew persevered in remaining near his ex-wife and, although Prince Philip reportedly averted the duchess just like the plague, he as soon as once more secured her invites to the household summer time vacation at Balmoral in 2005 and 2008, her first time there since 1992.

And in 2008, she moved in with Andrew and their daughters at Royal Lodge, the duke’s official nation residence since 2004.

Fergie has mentioned many a time and quipped once more to the Day by day Mail in November that she and Andrew are “the happiest divorced couple on the earth.”

The affectionate co-parents continued to go on household holidays with Beatrice and Eugenie and in early 2010, they skied in Verbier, Switzerland, with the women and attended a dinner hosted by racing-manager millionaire Paddy McNally—notable as a result of McNally was the person Fergie dated for 2 years and had wished to marry earlier than Andrew. (The quantity of bygones being bygones amongst these folks is actually extraordinary.)

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, 2002

Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock

“I wish to suppose that classes have been realized as a result of, my goodness, some ­classes did want studying,” Andrew mentioned concerning the gradual thawing of the ice between his mother and father and ex-wife. “However recollections generally might be fairly quick so it is a problem.”

Risking his mother and father’ ire, Andrew invited Fergie to his 50th birthday celebration that February, and she or he and the women threw him a extra intimate celebration at St. James’ Palace the subsequent day as nicely. 

In the meantime, Fergie had launched into quite a few philanthropic ventures and stored churning out books, together with her bestselling My Story, weight-reduction plan and life-style tomes and a brand new youngsters’s sequence, however her funds by no means appeared to stabilize. So it was in a interval of want for capital, she recalled, when she agreed to fulfill in 2010 with whom she’d been advised was an Indian enterprise tycoon who wished to spend money on her initiatives.

The person turned out to be Information of the World reporter Mazher Mahmood, and a surreptitious taping of their dialog—during which she appeared to be buying and selling entry to her ex-husband in change for £500,000, $40,000 of which she was given in money on the spot after telling Mahmood she did not “have a pot to piss in”—was subsequently revealed.

“The Duke of York [who had been a U.K. trade and international business envoy since 2001] categorically denies any data of any assembly or dialog between the Duchess of York and the Information of the World journalist,” the palace mentioned in a terse assertion following the NOTW bombshell. (The tabloid reported that Andrew wasn’t in on the alleged deal.)

“I very deeply remorse the state of affairs and the embarrassment triggered,” Fergie mentioned in an apologetic assertion. “It’s true that my monetary state of affairs is beneath stress, nonetheless, that’s no excuse for a severe lapse in judgment and I’m very sorry that this has occurred.” She concurred that Andrew “was not conscious or concerned in any of the discussions that occurred…The duke has made a big contribution to his enterprise function over the past 10 years and has all the time acted with full integrity.”

Fergie later insisted she would by no means have accomplished such a factor and that the tape was edited to mislead, however the extent of the following scandal (even an interview with Oprah Winfrey did not assist) price her an invite to Kate Middleton and Prince William‘s marriage ceremony in 2011 and earned her nothing however extra scorn from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. 

In her 2011 e book Discovering Sarah: A Duchess’s Journey to Discover Herself, Fergie agreed with the evaluation of her story as “vacuous and convoluted”—as a result of it was. “My enterprise and private affairs had been certainly vacuous and convoluted,” she wrote, “as a result of for years I would been weaving elaborate webs, making an attempt to please folks and keep away from my deepest fears. Now, rejection, failure, disgrace and abandonment had all come dwelling to roost.”

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Oprah, nonetheless, gave Fergie an OWN docu-series, the six-part Discovering Sarah, which included snippets of counseling periods with Dr. Phil McGraw. She had concluded that when she first married Andrew, and throughout their marriage, she did not suppose she deserved a happily-ever-after life, so she made certain that it might fail, taking blatant steps to sabotage it.

However Andrew, although he could not finagle her a marriage invite, stood by Fergie in the long term. She provided to maneuver out however was allowed to remain on at Royal Lodge and stays in residence there to this present day when she’s not in London, New York or in any other case on the go.

“When Andrew went [to Will and Kate’s wedding] with the women,” she advised Winfrey, “we had been speaking all morning, and he was saying, ‘It is OK. Simply keep in mind, we had such a great day. Our marriage ceremony was so excellent’…As a result of we’re such a unit collectively, he made me really feel very a part of the day on April the 29th.”

No stranger to controversy himself, Andrew stepped down from his unsalaried function as commerce and enterprise envoy in the summertime of 2011 leaving a path of headlines behind him, together with questions concerning the obvious lavishness of among the journeys he took whereas ostensibly on authorities enterprise, and due to this fact its dime.

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew

REX/Shutterstock

Fergie returned the unflagging help a couple of years later when Andrew was alleged to be linked to an underage intercourse ring masterminded by American billionaire businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who beginning in 2008 served 13 months of an 18-month sentence after pleading responsible to a cost of soliciting prostitution from women as younger as 14. Andrew, who had distanced himself from Epstein years prio, was named in a 2014 civil lawsuit as one of many males a Jane Doe plaintiff was compelled to have intercourse with, and in three areas, together with London. (The plaintiffs had been suing the federal authorities over Epstein’s plea deal; neither he nor Andrew was a defendant.)

The palace flatly denied that Andrew was in any method concerned or had data of such actions, calling the allegations “false and with none basis.” The accuser’s father then advised The Solar that his daughter had been launched to the queen; the palace mentioned there was no document of any such assembly.

“The York household is a decent unit,” Fergie advised reporters who caught up along with her on trip in Verbier. “We have all the time been a decent unit. He’s the best man there’s. It was the best second of my life in 1986 once I married him. He is a good man, one of the best on the earth.” (Epstein, who had been a good friend of Andrew’s, had additionally as soon as given Fergie £15,000 to assist her repay money owed. She advised the Night Commonplace in 2011 it was a “horrible, horrible error of judgment” to just accept cash from him.)

In a In the present day present look in January 2015, Fergie known as her ex-husband a “humongously good man.” She defined, “I’ll haven’t one phrase mentioned about him on any degree, any degree. I need to stand by him, as a result of I do know what it feels prefer to have salacious lies made up about you. I will not stand by and let his character be defamed to this degree.”

Duchess Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice

David Hartley/REX/Shutterstock

Whether or not or not he had ever questioned his loyalty to his ex-wife at any time through the years, when Philip was giving her the chilly shoulder or the tabloids had been raking her over the coals, Andrew proved to be a fortunate man when the headlines turned on him.

“He’ll all the time be my good-looking prince,” Fergie mentioned glowingly in 2013 on the Cheltenham Literature Competition. “We actually consider in being good mother and father for our women.”

It is even Instagram official, with the duchess marking her ex’s 58th earlier this 12 months. “Blissful birthday to one of the best man, father, good friend… Prince Andrew. Feb 19… ooh one of the best trying @hrhthedukeofyork #birthday,” she cheekily wrote

For the previous couple of years Fergie has gone with Andrew to Royal Ascot, and this 12 months she was noticed smiling and chatting with the queen within the royal field. Even Philip, who as soon as supposedly vowed he’d by no means be in the identical room along with her once more, has been in the identical room not less than twice this 12 months—at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s marriage ceremony in Could, the groom having insisted that his aunt get an invite, and on Friday at Eugenie’s marriage ceremony.

Simply once you suppose she is likely to be out, they let her again in.

Requested on the Cheltenham pageant in 2013 if getting again collectively was within the playing cards, Fergie mentioned, “He is nonetheless my good-looking prince, he’ll all the time be my good-looking prince. It is beautiful that we’re such a household and the story has a contented ending on a regular basis.”

She added, “In our daily, we actually respect one another and we honor one another and it is simply beautiful to have that sense of integrity, to what we consider is correct—to what’s good and compassionate and love and kindness. And that is the best way we’re.”

In 2014, Andrew, in that heat Home of Windsor method of his, known as their ongoing relationship “simply a part of life’s wealthy tapestry. If you happen to’ve been married to any individual, I simply see it as illogical to not be a good friend on the finish of the day, no matter what your set of circumstances are. However it’s meant an entire heap to the household.”

(Initially revealed Oct. 15, 2018, at three a.m. PT)

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