Wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson

by Susan Flantzer

Prince Andrew’s Family

HRH Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward was born February 19, 1960 at Buckingham Palace, London. Andrew was the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, born HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. Elizabeth was the elder daughter and the first of two children of King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was the youngest daughter and the ninth of ten children of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Philip’s father was HRH Prince Andrew of Greece, the son of King George I of Greece (formerly Prince William of Denmark) and Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia. His mother was Her Serene Highness Princess Alice of Battenberg. Alice was the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. During World War I, when King George V ordered his family to relinquish their German styles and titles, Prince Louis became the Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven. Princess Victoria’s mother was Princess Alice, a daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Therefore, Andrew’s parents are both great great grandchildren of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Andrew has two older siblings Prince Charles, born on November 14, 1948 and Princess Anne, born on August 15, 1950. When his mother became Queen on February 6, 1952, her duties as Queen postponed additions to the family. Prince Andrew was born eight years later and the youngest child in the family, Prince Edward, was born on March 10, 1964.

On his wedding day, July 23, 1986, Andrew was created Duke of York, the traditional title of the second son of the monarch, along with the subsidiary titles, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Killyleagh. These titles were also held by his maternal grandfather, King George VI, and his maternal great grandfather, King George V, both of whom were second sons of monarchs.

Queen Elizabeth’s children have been unlucky in marriage. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson separated on March 19, 1992 and divorced on May 30, 1996. The couple remains on friendly terms and Sarah, no longer HRH The Duchess of York, uses the style of a divorced duchess, Sarah, Duchess of York. Charles and Diana, The Prince and Princess of Wales, separated in December, 1992 and divorced in August, 1996. Exactly a year later, Diana, Princess of Wales tragically died in a car accident in Paris. In 1974, Princess Anne married Mark Phillips, a Lieutenant in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, but the couple separated in 1989 and divorced in 1992. Princess Anne married again in 1992 to Timothy Laurence, then a Commander in the Royal Navy. Prince Edward has been the most stable of the Queen’s children as far as marriage is concerned. In 1999, he married Sophie Rhys-Jones, then a public relations manager with her own firm, and that marriage still continues as does Princess Anne’s marriage to Timothy Laurence. In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles with whom he had a romantic relationship before and during his marriage.

Sarah Ferguson’s Family

Sarah and her sister Jane

Sarah Margaret Ferguson was born on October 15, 1959 in the Marylebone section of London. Her father was Major Ronald Ferguson, the son of Andrew Ferguson and Marian Montagu-Douglas-Scott, a first cousin of Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott, who married Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, third son of King George V. Sarah’s father had a career in the Army and was polo manager for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Sarah’s mother was Susan Mary Wright, the daughter of Lieutenant FitzHerbert Wright and The Honorable Doreen Wingfield. Mervyn Wingfield, 8th Viscount Powerscourt was Sarah’s maternal great grandfather. Sarah had an elder sister Jane Louisa who was born on August 26, 1957. The children’s parents divorced in 1974 and both remarried.

Sarah does boast a royal descent although it is from the wrong side of the sheets. Like the Duchess of Cornwall, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the late Princess Alice of Gloucester, Sarah is descended from King Charles II via his illegitimate children. Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, son of Charles II and his mistress Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth and James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, son of Charles II and his mistress Lucy Walter are her ancestors.

The Engagement

Sarah and Andrew had crossed paths throughout their lives, but they first really noticed each other a couple of years prior to the engagement at a weekend party at Floors Castle, the Scottish home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe. Fascinated by Sarah’s red hair, Andrew spent the weekend photographing her. However, both Sarah and Andrew were involved with others at the time. Despite this, a friendship began to develop.

Sarah visited Windsor Castle, attended Ascot Week, dined at Buckingham Palace, and attended the ballet at Covent Garden with Andrew. Their friendship was slowly becoming something more. Their budding romance was helped along by the matchmaking skills of the Princess of Wales. Diana and Andrew, having been childhood neighbors at Sandringham, were longtime friends. At one time, there had been speculation that Diana and Andrew would eventually marry. Diana was still close to her brother-in-law and Sarah was a good friend. Diana thought it would be a marvelous idea for her two dear friends to marry.

On February 19, 1986, Andrew’s birthday, at the Scottish home of the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, where their romance first started, Andrew proposed to Sarah. Sarah accepted but added, “If you wake up tomorrow morning, you can tell me it’s all a huge joke.”

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Engagement Ring

Sarah’s engagement ring was made by the crown jewelers, Garrard, from sketches Andrew himself had made. It was completed in just under a week. Featured in the ring was a Burma ruby surrounded by 10 drop diamonds. The mounting was 18 karat white and yellow gold.

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Wedding Attire

Sarah’s wedding dress was deemed a huge success by fashion designers and royal watchers. Designed by Linka Cierach, a couturier who had a modest shop in Fulham, West London, the dress was an ornate, Edwardian gown of ivory satin, heavily embroidered with anchors and waves, symbols alluding to Andrew’s naval career; and bees and thistles, symbols of Sarah’s own coat of arms. Completing the intricate embroidery was the letter “S” on the bodice. The train was 17 1/2 feet in length, with a large bead worked letter “A” near the end. Sarah’s veil was of pure silk and the edging embroidered with hearts and sequins. Her shoes were covered in matching beaded duchess satin. The floral headdress consisted of lily of the valley, cream roses, gardenias and cream lily petals. Sewn in the underskirt of Sarah’s dress were several blue bows containing good-luck messages from her family. Estimates by experts placed the cost of the ensemble at between $7,500 and $12,000.

Prince Andrew looked handsome and poised in the dress uniform of a Royal Navy lieutenant, complete with sword at his side, which appeared to give him some trouble when he slipped Sarah’s gold ring onto her finger.

The four bridesmaids wore frothy dresses of peach taffeta silk, trimmed in ecru and peach cotton lace and beautiful floral headdresses. The page boys wore midshipmen and sailor’s uniforms of the Royal Navy from 1782, complete with sailor hats.

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Wedding Attendants

Sarah’s bridesmaids were Alice Ferguson, her half sister; Lady Rosanagh Innes-Ker, the Duke of Roxburghe’s daughter; Laura Fellowes, the Princess of Wales’ niece; and Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne.

The page boys were Sarah’s seven year old half-brother, Andrew; her sister Jane’s son, Seamus; Peter Philips, Princess Anne’s son; and four-year-old Prince William, second in line to the throne.

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Ceremony

In the early morning hours of July 23, 1986, Sarah prepared to walk down the aisle of Westminster Abbey to wed her Prince and become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York. Tens of thousands lined the mile long route of the wedding procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. 800 million people were in front of their televisions, including millions of bleary eyed, early rising Americans. As Sarah and her father Major Ronald Ferguson left Clarence House in the Glass Coach, the “Queen’s Weather” prevailed and the sun broke through the clouds.

With only minor mistakes during the ceremony, Prince Andrew, Duke of York married Sarah Margaret Ferguson. The only sign of nerves on Sarah’s part came when she repeated Andrew’s full name, Andrew Albert Christian Edward. Andrew had minor difficulty placing the ring on Sarah’s finger. His sword would not cooperate and kept getting in the way. However, despite these minor bobbles, they were pronounced man and wife at 11:50 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Sarah had chosen the traditional service in which she pledged to “obey”.

Sarah’s wedding band was a simple one made of the same Welsh gold as Queen Elizabeth’s, Princess Margaret’s, Princess Anne’s and Princess Diana’s. Sarah caused quite a ripple of surprise when she presented Andrew with a gold pinkie band. This was not in the script of the wedding but was a royal family tradition.

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Wedding Breakfast

After the ceremony, Andrew and Sarah made their procession down the Mall to Buckingham Palace in an open-topped, 1802 State Landau carriage, amidst cheers from the throngs of well wishers along the way.

Members of the both families sipped champagne, had photographs taken, and waited for the bride and groom to arrive. Finally, the newly married Duke and Duchess of York emerged for the traditional balcony scene. Andrew grinned and waved to the thousands of people, while Sarah teased the crowd by cupping her hand to her ear when they shouted out “We want a kiss!” The request was granted when the Duke of York kissed his beautiful bride.

Andrew, Sarah, and the wedding party returned inside to feast upon a buffet of lobster, roast lamb cutlets, strawberries and cream, fine wine, and Bollinger champagne.

After Sarah distributed gifts of bow brooches to each of the bridesmaids and cufflinks for the pages, the cake was cut. Baked by three chefs at HMS Raleigh, a Navy supply school, the six tiered, 240 pound confection was cut by Sarah and Andrew with the Duke’s ceremonial sword.

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

The Honeymoon

As family and friends, nannies, chambermaids and cooks awaited the final appearance and eventual departure of the bride and groom, the children tossed handfuls of confetti meant for Sarah and Andrew at each other. When the newlyweds emerged, they were showered with rose petals from silver bowls held by footmen.

The couple made their way to Heathrow Airport in an open carriage, with a paper maiche satellite dish and sign attached reading “Phone Home” put there as a practical joke by Prince Edward, Andrew’s younger brother. The Princess of Wales and Viscount Linley, Princess Margaret’s son, placed a king-sized teddy bear inside the coach. Inside the courtyard, the guests ran after the carriage, shouting well wishes, including Queen Elizabeth who chased after Prince William.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, boarded a royal jet, emblazoned with “Just Married” on the rear door, for the Portuguese Azores Islands. The couple then spent their five day honeymoon aboard the royal yacht Britannia in the Atlantic.

Sources:
“Sarah, The Duchess of York, My Story” by Jeff Coplon
“Fergie” by Ingrid Seward
“Duchess” by Andrew Morton
“The Star Ledger” – July 24, 1986
“USA Today” – July 24, 1986

Learn More About Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson