SARAH Ferguson returned to the bosom of the royal family last night, seated in the front row at St George’s Chapel for the wedding of her daughter Princess Eugenie.
The Duchess of York, better known as “Fergie,’’ sat next to her husband Prince Andrew and just in front of the Queen as she watched Eugenie exchange vows with her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank.
Prince Philip, who reportedly still harbours a grudge against the Duchess — 22 years after she was divorced from Prince Andrew — was seated directly behind her, a scene once considered unthinkable.
The Duchess arrived at St George’s Chapel with her older daughter Princess Beatrice, who served as her sister’s maid of honour, arriving at St George’s Chapel West Steps to big cheers from the crowd.
She jumped out of the car and rushed to the crowd, hugging onlookers and shaking hands before joining Beatrice for the walk up the steps.
Wearing a bright green dress by Ascot dressmaking firm Emma Louise Design and wearing a Jess Collett hat, Sarah carried a vintage Manolo Blahnik bag first carried by her mother Susan Barrantes, at her daughter’s wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986.
She heaved a huge sigh of relief and puffed out her cheeks as she took her place in the pews.
A vivacious redhead and commoner known as “Fergie’’, the Duchess was hailed as a breath of fresh air when she married Prince Andrew in 1986, but the marriage quickly fell apart and they were divorced 10 years later.
Photographed topless having her toes sucked by her financial adviser, Sarah was ostracised by the royal family, and fell further from favour when she was caught in a newspaper sting accepting a bribe to arrange access to her ex-husband.
She was in danger of going bankrupt but Prince Andrew paid off her debts and in 2008, she moved back into the sprawling Royal Lodge at Windsor when Prince Andrew lives, and the pair remain firm friends.
She attended Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May, but arrived alone and sat in the pews on the “non-royal’’ side of the chapel.
But as her relationship with the royal family continues to improve, she was seen at the Royal Ascot horse races this year, curtsying to and laughing with the Queen, and by last night was firmly back in the royal fold — at least as far as public appearances go.
This time, as mother of the bride, she had a central role, sitting at the front of the church between Princess Beatrice and her husband Prince Andrew.
With Prince Andrew, she is believed to be hosting two private wedding celebrations for Eugenie and Jack at Royal Lodge — one late on Friday, and another more relaxed event on Saturday.
Originally published as Fergie welcomed back in royal return