Fergie’s fist-pump that said: It’s been a long walk but I’m back from the wilder­ness!


Two royal wed­dings in the space of five months. Two dresses, two pro­ces­sions, two trips up the aisle at the rav­ish­ing St Ge­orge’s Chapel at wind­sor. And two very dif­fer­ent moth­ers-of-the-bride.

The first, Do­ria Ragland, the very model of self- ef­fac­ing dig­nity. Alone, un­known and un­ac­com­pa­nied; un­fussy, un­pre­ten­tious, clearly slightly over­whelmed by all the pomp and cir­cum­stance – but nev­er­the­less fault­less in her be­hav­iour and de­meanour on the big day. Just an or­di­nary woman mak­ing the most of an ex­tra­or­di­nary sit­u­a­tion, savour­ing ev­ery mo­ment of her daugh­ter’s tri­umph.

The sec­ond, Sarah Fer­gu­son: the op­po­site in ev­ery way. Brash, bold, bask­ing in the glory of her daugh­ter’s royal po­si­tion, sur­rounded by old friends and muck­ers, gig­gling and gurn­ing at the con­gre­ga­tion, brim­ming with con­fi­dence – and back at last where she has al­ways felt she be­longs: within the royal fold, next to her ex-hus­band in the front row of life. Didn’t that fist pump as she greeted the crowd say it all!

Even Do­ria and Fergie’s choices of out­fit mir­rored their con­trast­ing ap­proaches: they both chose green, but wore it so very dif­fer­ently. Do­ria, you may re­mem­ber, was el­e­gant and un­der­stated in soft mint; Fergie chose a vivid shade of eye­catch­ing emer­ald and a winged look-at-me hat.

From the mo­ment she ar­rived, beam­ing like the Cheshire Cat, she was ev­ery inch the in­cor­ri­gi­ble, rum­bus­tious Fergie of leg­end, whose be­hav­iour has been a sta­ple pain in the royal back­side.

Yes, this was Eu­ge­nie’s ‘Big Day’ (and didn’t she look gor­geous in her Peter Pilotto dress, ar­guably bet­ter cut and pitched than Meghan’s boat­necked Givenchy num­ber?); but it was also with­out doubt Fergie’s ‘Mo­ment’, the cul­mi­na­tion of her long walk back from the wilder­ness.

PRINCE Philip’s pres­ence de­spite his great age of 97 (it would have been the eas­i­est thing in the world for him to plead ill­ness and skip the whole thing al­to­gether) and fa­mously not her great­est fan, must have been the cherry on the cake.

Be­hind the scenes, of course, Fergie’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion has long been widely ac­cepted. She and Andrew, both 58, have de­scribed them­selves as the ‘world’s hap­pi­est un­mar­ried cou­ple’.

They share the newly re­fur­bished Royal Lodge in wind­sor Great Park and a £13 mil­lion chalet in Ver­bier, Switzer­land. For some­one Princess Mar­garet once de­scribed as hav­ing ‘ done more to bring shame on the fam­ily than could ever have been imag­ined’, she has pulled off a royal rap­proche­ment that few would have pre­dicted.

But this pub­lic recog­ni­tion, not just in the eyes of the Bri­tish pub­lic but in front of God and the Queen her­self, means so much more. it rep­re­sents the fi­nal stage in a process that has taken the best part of three decades.

And what­ever you think of the woman, there is no deny­ing that she has the tena­cious­ness of a ter­rier when it comes to get­ting what she wants.

Yes, she has be­haved ap­pallingly on in­nu­mer­able oc­ca­sions; but de­spite it all i can­not help ad­mire her am­bi­tion, per­sis­tence, hu­mour — and sheer lust for life. So con­grat­u­la­tions, Eu­ge­nie and Jack: i wish you all the very best. And cheers Fergs: they broke the mould when they made you.

Lov­ing it: Sarah, with daugh­ter Beatrice, waves to friends Bask­ing in glory: The Duchess of York greets the wait­ing crowd with a fist pump Pulling faces: Duchess puffs her cheeks as she sits down

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