Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York was left in an awkward position at the Royal Family breakfast table after a series of bawdy pictures were leaked to the press. Fergie was caught in a compromising situation with her financier lover John Bryan during a holiday in the south of France while still married to Prince Andrew. Speaking to Channel 5 documentary ‘Royal Wives at War’, former royal correspondent Jennie Bond said: “I got a phone call from the BBC early in the morning, it was a very busy patch my patch, being royal correspondent.
“‘Jen, we need you in the office. You’re not going to believe this one but Fergie’s been found having her toes sucked by her financial adviser in the South of France. Can you come in the office?’
“I thought, ‘oh my goodness me, do I have to cover stories like this?’ But yes, I did and it was a really big story.”
The photos were published on several morning papers while Sarah was at Balmoral for the summer holidays with the rest of the Royal Family, leaving Fergie in an awkward spot.
Ms Bond continued: “There she was with all the members of the Royal Family who, traditionally, have all the papers laid out on the breakfast table.
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“The scene when she went into the dining room was horrific for her because there were her brothers-in-law turning over the pages, staring at her naked top half of her body.
“It was excruciatingly embarrassing.
“She then went to the Queen and the Queen was livid. She was absolutely furious with Sarah.”
The leak resulted in Fergie skedaddling out of Balmoral shortly after breakfast, packing up her bags and her daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie to head back to London.
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Mere months after the photos were leaked, Buckingham Palace announced the Duke and Duchess of York would divorce after six years of marriage.
Narrator Glynis Barber suggested the leak was peripherally linked to Princess Diana, who had been trying to divert the public attention from her failing marriage to Fergie and Prince Andrew’s.
Ms Barber said: “After her tow-curlingly awkward moment at Balmoral, Fergie made her exit.
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“Diana was rumoured to have played her part in the timing of Fergie’s front page story.
“But Diana’s tactic to divert the media spotlight from her to friend Fergie was short lived. Her own scandalous revelation was about to take the heat off Fergie.”
Weeks after Sarah’s X-rated pictures were released, the public was informed of the existence of a tape in which Princess Diana voiced her frustration about her relationship with Prince Charles and the rest of the Royal Family.
At the time, the Prince and Princess of Wales had been in the middle of an acrimonious separation, the result of which was the alleged personal intervention of the Queen demanding the pair divorce to put an end to their bitter battle of words.