The One Thing Andrew Never Could Have Done Before Philip Died, Sources Say
"It's a good thing the Duke of Edinburgh is not alive to see what's happened," one source said.
Though he was long rumored to be Queen Elizabeth's "favorite" son, Prince Andrew did not always enjoy the same status with his father, the notoriously stern Prince Philip. A source told Best Life at the time of Philip's death in April that what reportedly infuriated his father most was not just Andrew's connection to the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but his decision to act as if the allegations against him would simply "go away."
The Duke of York reportedly met with his father right before the airing of his ill-fated 2019 BBC interview (during which Andrew tried—and spectacularly failed—to explain away his relationship with Epstein and deny Virginia Roberts Giuffre's allegations that the prince sexually assaulted her when she was 17). According to the Telegraph, Andrew made the long drive to Sandringham just hours before the televised interview hit air waves to meet with Philip and his older brother, Prince Charles. A source told the outlet: "It was a tense meeting, and Philip told his son he had to take his punishment. There was no screaming or shouting, but Philip told him in no uncertain terms that he had to step down for the sake of the monarchy."
Despite being banished from Buckingham Palace and forced to stay out of the limelight since Nov. 2019, another source told Best Life that Andrew is "completely convinced there is a way for him work his way back into his royal patronages and responsibilities and get on with his life."
The first time the Duke of York spoke publicly since his exile was at a church service in the days following Philip's death where, in full statesman-like mode, he told the assembled press pool his father had been "grandfather to the nation." In light of the serious legal trouble he was in, there was loud and swift public criticism against him for what some called a grandstanding move. But behind Palace walls, the disgraced prince was not silenced. "It did not chasten him," said one Palace insider.
In August, Prince Andrew's legal woes grew far more serious when Giuffre filed a civil lawsuit against the duke in New York, alleging that after being trafficked by Epstein in the 2000s, she was forced to have non-consensual sex with Andrew in Manhattan when she was just a teenager.
"It's a good thing the Duke of Edinburgh is not alive to see what's happened since Andrew did not take his advice and tried to avoid the allegations at all cost," a source told Best Life. "He would be equally furious and devastated." But now that Philip is no longer standing in the way of what the Duke of York wants to do in the aftermath of Giuffre's lawsuit, sources say he is intent on moving forward with a plan that could never have happened if Philip were alive today. Read on to find out what Andrew is planning now that his father isn't around to stop him.
Prince Andrew wants to remarry his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, now that Prince Philip is no longer here to oppose him, sources say.
Prior to the Duke of Edinburgh's death in April, sources say Andrew's notoriously opinionated father was the major stumbling block to him remarrying Sarah Ferguson. An insider told Best Life last year, "Andrew is also quite strong-willed, but the Queen will not go against Philip's wishes on this." The insider added, "It's a delicate situation."
Now, said the source, Andrew is "determined to remarry Sarah Ferguson," if he is "able to move on with life after allegations of sexual abuse."
Another source told Best Life Philip "could not bear to be in the same room" with Fergie, as she is best known, after she was photographed in 1992 on holiday in St. Tropez with Texas millionaire John Bryan in a very compromising position. The duchess was caught on camera sunbathing topless poolside on a lounge chair while Bryant kissed her feet. Her younger daughter Princess Eugenie was also snapped playing nearby and watching the clandestine couple kiss.
On the morning the photos hit the front page of the Mirror, the soon-to-be-disgraced duchess had been staying with the Royal Family at Balmoral. Rather than face Philip's wrath when he and the Queen came down for breakfast and saw the shocking images, Sarah reportedly bolted from the castle, taking Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, and their nanny with her. Two months later, in March 1992, she and Andrew announced their separation and ultimately divorced in 1996. The duchess was not among the 30 invited guests who attended Philip's funeral in April.
The Duke and Duchess of York have had an unconventional and very close relationship post-divorce.
The Duke and Duchess of York have maintained an extremely close relationship post-divorce, even living together with their two daughters at Royal Lodge in Windsor until recently. Now that both Beatrice and Eugenie are married with growing families of their own, Andrew and Sarah are the only ones living in the royal residence.
Back in 2019, Best Life reported that the friendly exes had been spotted together with increasing frequency, including their joint appearance at Eugenie's wedding in Oct. 2018. "Sarah and Andrew have never been closer," an insider said at the time. "They've always had feelings for one another and now, it seems, something has changed and they seem intent on being more public with their relationship. But the Duke of Edinburgh does not approve and it's causing some tension."
That same year, when Philip headed to Balmoral unexpectedly early, Fergie was forced to leave in a hurry. A source told the Daily Mail that, in previous years, the duchess made sure to leave a day before the Duke of Edinburgh arrived. But when he showed up several days earlier than expected in 2019, the source said "the duchess left."
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Fergie has gone from royal pariah to Andrew's most vocal supporter.
The Duchess of York has remained an outsider for decades and was not invited to Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011. When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2019, she was invited, but she was not seated with Andrew and their daughters inside St. George's Chapel. Undaunted, the duchess made sure to talk to the press about how happy she was to be included in the festivities. "The duchess took it as a good sign and was hopeful the family's feelings towards her were finally changing," a royal source told Best Life at the time.
This year, during the Queen's annual summer holiday at Balmoral, Andrew and Sarah arrived at the Scottish retreat together to stay with Her Majesty. But it was far from a carefree vacation. According to the Daily Mail, after several unsuccessful attempts to serve Andrew notice of Giuffre's lawsuit, the prince was finally served the legal documents at Royal Lodge at the end of August before departing for Scotland. The outlet also reported the duke had 21 days to respond, but claims his lawyers are reportedly planning to get the motion thrown out on a technically, claiming the papers were served improperly.
"Andrew and Fergie wanted to forget about the lawsuit at Balmoral," a source told Best Life. "Sarah was there to cheer him on and comfort him. She believes in him, which bolsters his mood at this tense time. He will need her for moral support in the coming months. There is every indication they will remarry if the prince is cleared of the charges he faces."
Ever since allegations began to surface about Andrew having sex with then 17-year-old Giuffre (then Roberts) at Epstein's New York home, Fergie has been her ex-husband's most vocal and passionate supporter. During an early August appearance on the popular ITV talk show Lorraine, before the lawsuit was filed, the duchess called Andrew a "thoroughly good man" after she was asked about Giuffre's allegations against him (via the Mirror). Appearing on the show to promote her new book, Her Heart for a Compass, Sarah called Andrew a "very gentle man" and a "really good father" to Beatrice and Eugenie.
Andrew and Sarah have the Queen in their corner, but not all royals reportedly feel the same.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the wife of Prince Edward, has long been in Her Majesty's good graces, but Fergie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, have not had the same experience. However, in recent years, things have changed for the better with her daughters-in-law, though it's a very new shift with the former.
"Her Majesty has grown more accepting of her sons' relationships in recent years," a royal source told Best Life in 2019. "She eventually came around to Charles marrying Camilla, but in the case of Andrew and Sarah, the Duke's objections are a sticking point."
Now that Philip is gone, the conflict no longer exists. The same source today said: "[Andrew and Sarah] still love each other and the relationship has evolved in way that they are both the cornerstones of each other's lives. There could very well be a wedding if Andrew prevails in the lawsuit. Having accepted Sarah back into the royal fold many years ago, it's unlikely the Queen will stand in their way if they choose to remarry."
However, Charles finds Andrew and Sarah's living arrangements at Royal Lodge "outrageous" and a major embarrassment to the family, Express recently reported. "The general consensus is that because Andrew is no longer a working royal and the princesses have both moved out, it's time to make a change regardless," an insider told Best Life in August. "The Duke and Duchess of York need to make other arrangements." It therefore seems hard to imagine Charles would support his brother's remarriage, either.