Duchess in the doghouse: Fergie ‘deeply unhappy’ over wedding snub video
Weddings purport to be about bringing people together, but are invariably the cause of angst and division; never more so than for Sarah, Duchess of York.
The news that she will not be invited to Prince Charles’s “inner sanctum” bash for Harry and Meghan has apparently left the 58-year-old duchess “deeply unhappy”.
Prince Andrew’s ex-wife is among 600 guests invited to the ceremony at Windsor’s St George’s Chapel on May 19, and the reception.
However, while the Duke of York and their daughters have also received invitations for the Prince of Wales’s second, private shindig for 250, Fergie is not on the list.
Prince Charles is said to fail to understand why the duchess remains such a part of his brother’s life (divorced for 20 years, the pair live together at Royal Lodge in Windsor, acting as each other’s plus-ones). His father, the Duke of Edinburgh, goes further, allegedly having described her as “having no point”.
Despite some recent thawing in her NFI status at royal events – notably, invitations to Balmoral and Royal Ascot – awkwardness remains in the fact that Prince Philip apparently refuses to be in the same room as her.
She was not invited to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s nuptials at Westminster Abbey in 2011 – despite being a far larger occasion – seeking sanctuary in a Thai spa before appearing on Oprah to lament the situation.
And there’s the rub. Well-intentioned as she appears to be, there’s a blundering naffness about our heroine which means that she will never be fully accepted by senior royals. Instead, she is always in the doghouse about something, whether an inappropriate “friend”, or her latest moneymaking enterprise (a right royal juicer, anyone?).
As in the brilliant satire, The Windsors, the duchess seems to make a habit of turning up fresh from some new, mortifying escapade. For the artist formerly known as Sarah Ferguson is the hokey-cokey royal: in, out, and with a tendency to shake it all about that doesn’t go down well with fustier members of The Firm. One can almost hear Harry’s tentative: “We need to talk about Aunt Sarah.”
For it was Prince Harry who apparently demanded that Fergie be given her moment in the sun. Close as he is to his two cousins, Beatrice and Eugenie (who are friends, in turn with Meghan’s “sister”, Misha Nonoo), he is said to have insisted that their mother attend his big day, despite the “massive headache” sources claim has ensued.
Fergie was his mother’s great ally – before a certain froideur set in – and one can only assume that her reaction on seeing her nephews left motherless was to long to smother them with love. Once reunited, one imagines that she will have wanted to be The Best Aunt Ever, all suffocating hugs and sticky lipstick kisses.
For Fergie is that relative: the one you rather like – love even – and yet still kind of get why everyone else is allergic.
Those not old enough to remember the duchess’s own marriage in 1986 – a millennial friend had to google her – will have no idea of the national hoopla involved. The union between the dashing (Falklands) war hero and the jolly ginger nut was the event of the mid-80s, just as Charles and Diana’s had been the event of the decade’s opening years.
Fergie – she was always Fergie – was not as posh as Diana (who was arguably posher than the Windsors), not as remote, and not, apparently, a virgin – the thrill! She had lived a bit, in a Sloaney, pony sort of way: an HRH in Jilly Cooper guise – fun, horsey, having toyed with the requisite Fulhamite roles (art, PR, publishing).
Here was a different sort of woman to be the subject of scrapbooks and commemorative mugs: chubby, larky, about whom – as with Meghan Markle – we heard the phrase “breath of fresh air”. It was her idea that she and Diana dress up as policewomen and gatecrash Prince Andrew’s stag.
The beginnings of her notoriously “chequered history” did not take long to emerge. The new duchess and her husband were branded “vulgar”; the duchess’s brash humour deemed inappropriate; her weight gaining her the tabloid sobriquet “Duchess of Pork”.
But her real fall from grace came six months after their 1992 separation, with the front-page, topless toe-sucking incident in which she was caught cavorting with her financial adviser in the south of France; her role as a Weight Watchers ambassador, and promotions with Wedgwood and Avon; and an ill-judged reality show in which she lived on a council estate and lectured residents about nutrition.
Her financial misadventures are legendary. In 2009, her US firm collapsed leaving US$1 million of debt. A year later, she was filmed accepting US$40,000 in an alleged cash-for-access scandal, after which she made a “redemptive” appearance on Oprah declaring that her life had been “in the gutter”.
Other media moments have included Loose Women, Celebrity Apprentice, and regular spots on the Steve Wright radio show. Lately, her outbursts have found a new medium in Instagram, where she posts a steady stream of inspirational aphorisms, and gushes over her daughter’s engagement.
Brilliantly, the queen of velvet bows and errant toes will be in charge of her own nuptial guest list when Eugenie marries later this year. Doubtless, she will use the opportunity to be characteristically generous. Albeit, there may be talk of juicing in Hello! shortly afterwards.
Source: The Telegraph, London, stuff co nz
Tags: Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Harry and Meghan, Royal Wedding, Wedding Preparation, Wedding News, Royal Wedding, Harry Wedding, Meghan Wedding, British Royal Family, British Royal News, British News, Royal News, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
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