Royal News

‘Excruciating’ breakfast when Fergie faced livid Queen after toe-sucking scandal

In the months that followed Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s separation announcement, things seemed civil behind palace walls.

Fergie was invited to join the family for their traditional summer holiday in Balmoral, taking Princess Beatrice and Eugenie along for a countryside break.

However, the politeness disappeared on one “excruciatingly embarrassing” moment when intimate photos of the Duchess of York appeared on the front pages.

She had been snapped having her toes sucked by her financial advisor, Texan millionaire John Bryan.

Other photos in the set also showed the couple kissing, embracing and frolicking in the pool.

In one image, two-year-old Princess Eugenie watched on as Mr Bryan kissed her mother on the lips.

Royal writer Richard Kay claimed in the Daily Mail that he received a message via pager from Princess Diana the night before the photos hit the newspaper stands.

Diana’s message was simple: “The redhead’s in trouble.”

He then got a call from John Bryan asking if he could obtain an early copy of the Mirror so he could see what was being said.

Kay obliged, rushing to Bryan’s flat just as he received a call from a concerned Sarah Ferguson.

“Bryan promised her everything would be fine, but I could see in his face that he didn’t really believe it,” Kay wrote.

“In a few short hours, those pictures were going to be on the breakfast room sideboard in the Queen’s castle. They would also be winging around the world to be pored over by millions.”

And that’s exactly what happened, and Fergie had to walk into breakfast that morning while the family all looked at the pictures.

Speaking on Channel 5’s documentary, Fergie Vs Diana: Royal Wives at War, royal expert Jennie Bond said: “There she was, with all the members of the royal family, who traditionally have all the papers laid out on the breakfast table.

“The scene when she went into the dining room was horrendous, because there were her brothers-in-law turning over the pages and staring at her naked top half of her body.

“It was excruciatingly embarrassing and she went to the Queen, and the Queen was livid.

“She was absolutely furious with Sarah.”

Unsurprisingly, she didn’t stay for long and used a side exit to make a quick escape.

Princess Diana had ‘set to’ with Princess Anne after she complained about Sarah Ferguson  

She jumped on a plane at Aberdeen airport and headed back to London.

But when she eventually arrived at her Surrey house, there was more embarrassment for the Duchess as nobody was there to open the gates.

Instead of shooting past the reporters and photographers lining up outside, she was forced to sit while a detective got out of the car to unlock the barrier.

But there was one thing in particular that annoyed Bryan as he surveyed the media coverage.

According to Kay, he said: “I wasn’t sucking her toes, I was kissing them!”

After four years of separation, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew officially announced their decision to divorce in May 1996.

She has retained her title ‘Duchess of York’ but ceased being a Royal Highness.

Should Sarah marry again, she will also lose her Duchess title.

Years after their split, Fergie claimed the marriage was troubled due to her husband’s prolonged periods away from home.

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She explained: “What I got was not the man, I got the palace and didn’t get him.”

Sarah still attends functions with daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and is occasionally invited to stay at Balmoral as a guest of the Queen.

Over the years there have been several reports that the Duke and Duchess of York might yet remarry.

While Andrew appears to have forgiven Sarah, the same isn’t always said for his parents.

Prince Philip in particular was reportedly furious, and many experts believe he still hasn’t forgiven her.

Speaking on This Morning during an interview about Beatrice’s wedding, the Telegraph’s Camilla Tominey said: “The Queen has always given Sarah her time, and invited her to Balmoral with the girls every year because she thinks that Sarah has done a very good job of bringing them up.

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“They’re both lovely girls and she loves her granddaughters.

“Prince Philip has never really forgiven Fergie for some of the unfortunate headlines of the past.

“It used to be the case that when the Queen invited Fergie and the girls up to Balmoral, he would disappear and go to the Isle of Wight because he didn’t want to be in the same place as her.

“That’s slightly melted in that he was at both Eugenie and Beatrice’s wedding.”


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