FERGIE’S RIGHT AT HOME IN FRONT SEAT

Herald Sun - - NEWS - ELLEN WHINNETT

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 ex-hus­band Prince Andrew and just in front of the Queen as she watched Eu­ge­nie ex­change vows with 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 to big cheers from the crowd with her older daugh­ter Princess Beatrice, who served as her sis­ter’s maid of hon­our.

She jumped out of the car and rushed to the crowd, hug­ging on­look­ers and shak­ing hands.

Wear­ing a bright green dress by As­cot firm Emma Louise De­sign and wear­ing a Jess Col­lett hat, Sarah car­ried a vin­tage Manolo Blah­nik bag first used by her mother Su­san Bar­rantes at Fergie’s 1986 wed­ding. 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, the Duchess was hailed as a breath of fresh air when she mar­ried Prince Andrew 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 where Andrew lives, and the pair re­main friends.

She at­tended Prince Harry and Meghan’s wed­ding in May, but ar­rived alone and sat in the pews on the “non­royal’’ 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. With her ex­hus­band, she is be­lieved to be host­ing two pri­vate wed­ding cel­e­bra­tions for Eu­ge­nie and Jack at Royal Lodge — one late yes­ter­day and an­other more re­laxed event to­day.

Princess Eu­ge­nie and Jack Brooks­bank seal their mar­riage with a kiss, and (below) the page boys and flower girls have some fun be­fore the cer­e­mony.

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