Sarah Ferguson: Will his ex-wife continue to ‘hold her ground’ for Prince Andrew? | Prince Andrew

LLast month, with storm clouds gathering over Windsor as the Duke of York pinned his hopes that an American judge would dismiss the sexual assault civil suit against him, his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, appeared on Italian television.

Promoting her Mills & Boon novel Her Heart for a Compass, Fergie, as she is known by her birth name Sarah Ferguson, was effusive in her praise of Prince Andrew. “I fully support Andrew 100%,” he told talk show Porta a Porta.

The happiest day of her life, she continued, was her wedding day back in 1986, “when I married the best man in the world.”

As character witnesses say, this was a brilliant testimonial, especially coming from a woman who divorced her husband of 25 years.

Today, permanently stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages, banished from the official royal court, and facing a relentless legal battle to clear his name, which he has vowed to continue, there seem to be few Andrew can turn to for support. unconditional.

But the one who has stood firm at all times is his ex-wife.

The Duke and Duchess on their wedding day. Photograph: Peter Turnley/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

Once described by the Duchess herself as “the happiest divorced couple in the world”, the relationship between the Duke and Duchess is undoubtedly unconventional.

“Who knows what the relationship really is. It seems completely strange,” said real author Penny Junor.

They still live together, when she is in the UK, at Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s former house of grace and favor in Windsor, on which Andrew has a 75-year lease. After all, with its 30 rooms and 21 secluded acres, there’s plenty of room. Although calling it home, Ferguson told the Sunday Times last year, “would be presumptuous.”

They happily spent the holidays together with their daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, which generated constant speculation about reconciliation and remarriage, rumors that grew after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was said to be not a fan of the Duchess.

Asked directly in August on ITV’s Loose Women if a resurgence of romance was in the cards, he dismissed it. “Oh my God,” she replied, “you’re all a fairy tale, you all have your wands. Andrew and I stand firm, in the past we have been joint parents and now we are joint grandparents.”

Junor said: “She has not been silent by his side. She actually speaks for him.”

The duke now seemed like an isolated figure, Junor added. “He used to be a huge party animal. Those days seem to be gone. He cuts a sad and lonely figure these days, I think. We see him riding but always alone. It’s the daughters that make me sad the most, being caught up in all this. It must be very difficult for them.”

It is not the first storm that the couple has gone through together. They broke up in 1992, months before photos of the Duchess being sucked on her toes by her financial adviser John Bryan appeared on front pages while at Balmoral with the Queen, an “unbearably embarrassing” moment, she has since said.

Then, in 2010, the financially strapped duchess was caught in a trap by the now-defunct News of the World, allegedly trying to sell an undercover journalist access to Andrew for £500,000, for which she was forced to apologize. for his “serious lapse”. of judgement”.

Chronology

Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew

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In the early 1990s, ghislaine maxwell, the daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell, met an investment banker and financier Jeffrey Epstein. Their relationship was initially romantic, but developed into something more akin to Maxwell as confidante and personal assistant.

Prince Andrew It was reportedly introduced to Epstein through Maxwell in 1999, and Epstein allegedly visited the QueenAberdeenshire private retreat.

Some have suggested that the introduction was made earlier. A 2011 letter to the Times of London from the prince’s then private secretary, Alastair Watson, suggests that Andrew and Epstein had known each other since the early 1990s.

Andrew, Maxwell and Epstein are seen together in donald trumpThe Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Later that year, Epstein and Maxwell attend a joint birthday party at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen.

Andrew and Epstein are on vacation together and appear on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand, surrounded by topless women. The Times of London reported that Epstein paid for the prince’s vacation.

In the same year, Virginia Guffre, then 17, claims to have had sex with Andrew at Maxwell’s house in Belgravia, London. Giuffre, whose last name was Roberts at the time of the alleged incidents, says she slept with Andrew twice more, at Epstein’s home in New York and at an “orgy” on his private island in the Caribbean.

Epstein is jailed for 18 months by a Florida state court after pleading guilty to prostitution to minors.

Shortly after his release, Epstein receives a visit from Andrew in New York. The couple is photographed together in Central Park. Footage emerges years later, allegedly filmed on December 6, that appears to show Andrew inside Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan waving goodbye to a woman behind a door.

Andrew steps down from his role as UK trade envoy following the Central Park photo furore.

Allegations that Andrew had sex with Giuffre surface in Florida court documents related to Epstein. The documents say she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17, which is lower than the age of consent under Florida law. Buckingham Palace denies the allegations. The claims against Andrew are later struck from US civil court records following a ruling by a federal judge.

Andrew is accused of sexual misconduct by a second alleged Epstein victim, johanna sjoberg. She claims he touched her chest in the billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace says the allegations are “categorically false.”

Epstein is found dead in his jail cell after being rearrested and charged with sex trafficking. A medical examiner says the death was a suicide. A pilot on Epstein’s private jet later that month claims that Andrew was a passenger on previous flights with the financier and Giuffre.

Andrew takes part in a disastrous BBC television interview during which he claims that he could not have had sex with Giuffre because he was home from a visit to Pizza Express in Woking, and that her description of him dancing with her beforehand was not correct. could be true because he couldn’t break a sweat and that he “didn’t remember meeting this lady”. After several days of negative reactions, Andrew announces that he will be retiring from public duties “for the foreseeable future”.

american prosecutor Geoffrey Berman gives a public statement suggesting there has been “zero cooperation” with Andrew’s investigation.

After Berman again claimed that Andrew “completely closed the door” on cooperation with the US investigation in March, the prince’s lawyers insist he has repeatedly offered to cooperate and accuse US prosecutors of misleading the public and violate confidentiality.

Maxwell, who has rarely been seen in public in recent years, is arrested by the FBI on Epstein-related charges. Unsealed testimony from a 2015 civil case reveals a series of claims about his role in Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, including allegations that he trained underage girls as sex slaves.

US officials confirm that Prince Andrew was given court documents related to a sexual assault civil lawsuit by Giuffre, seeking damages. His lawyers had previously said the duke had officially received the documents, but his legal team had disputed the claim. Two weeks later, a New York court authorized his lawyers to see the confidential settlement agreement between Giuffre and Epstein.

London’s Metropolitan Police say they will take no further action after a review of allegations that Prince Andrew assaulted Giuffre. In August, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick had said “no one is above the law” and had asked her team to review the material again.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial ends with a guilty verdict on five of the six charges she faced.

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In 2012, another humiliating apology for a “giant error in judgment on my behalf” followed revelations that he had allowed convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to provide £15,000 to help pay off his debts.

To the Evening Standard, he spoke of his regret and how his actions had “inadvertently impacted the man I admire most in the world, the Duke.” She “would throw myself under a bus for him,” she continued, and “was not going to stand back and let him take further abuse for any suggestion or implication of impropriety.”

Now Andrew is fighting for what remains of his reputation, already tarnished by his friendship with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently convicted on charges related to recruiting and grooming teenagers for Epstein.

As he decides his next move to defend himself against claims, which he denies, by Virginia Giuffre that she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 and trafficked by Epstein, one person he can count on, it seems, is his ex wife.

  • Information and support for anyone affected by issues of rape or sexual assault is available from the following organizations. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers assistance on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland or 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland. In the US, Rainn offers support at 800-656-4673. In Australia, support is available from 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html

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