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