Forever Fergie – putting on a royal show
And so a princess got married in a way that was apparently very private, yet curiously public. Guest-wise, we had a Geldof girl in a muumuu, Cara Delevingne in drag and Kate Moss as the ghost of benders past. But, best of all, was the bride’s mother – gawky, gurning, gloriously herself – the artist forever known as Fergie in full Ferginian force.
And, lo, the nation spoke with one voice and it said: “Oh, Fergs, how we do adore thee,” with even her former father-in-law prepared to be in the same room as her. For many of us, the emphasis was less on the nation’s princess bride than on her mother, Queen Fergiana of York. It was her day; if only because it was one occasion on which she was actually invited to be at the heart of something.
One felt for her from the moment she banged her head while exiting the car. True to form, Fergs immediately raced over to press flesh with onlookers. Colleagues on the ground in Windsor tell me that there was a lot of love for her in the crowd, with much “ahing” over her evident jitters and bursting maternal pride.
The duchess’s outfit was spot on: green, her power colour, on-theme for both the bridesmaids’ sashes and that fabulous emerald tiara sported by her daughter. She was clutching the bag her own mother carried to her wedding, while her winged straw hat was immediately satirised as a golden snitch from Harry Potter’s quidditch game, providing just what we need from York millinery – memes.
It was a classic Ferginian move to sport a hat and frock whose colours failed to quite match. Still, never mind. She was there. She got to stand on the steps with the others. And no one mentioned toe-sucking.
Well might she seem nervous, poor lamb. Not only has she been persona non grata among the Windsor posse following her various faux pas over the years, she now had to walk down the aisle in front of a packed congregation. She was supported in this by Princess Beatrice, reflecting the two sisters’ closeness to their mother which is such they nickname themselves ‘the tripod’. The duchess sank into her seat, broke into a cartoon-style, puffed-out-cheeks sigh, then regaled us with a series of comedy “gah” faces, while executing tremulous little waves.
Doubtless her nerves were exacerbated by the presence of Prince Philip, who has declined to share space with his former daughter-in-law for the past 20 years. It had been reported he would wake up and see whether he felt up to attending, which is perfectly acceptable behaviour aged 97.
However – given Her Majesty’s adoration of the York girls – he did make it on the day, seated diagonally behind our luckless heroine, putting them on the same side for perhaps the first time ever. Prince Charles was nearer still.
The brilliant Channel 4 satire, The Windsors, has made Fergie a cult figure: forever. Yesterday’s appearance deserves an episode of its own.
Sarah, Duchess of York was going through her glorious, gawky, gurning routine at her daughter’s wedding, while the Duchess of Cornwall – the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland – was meeting a stuffed meerkat at a primary school in Aberdeenshire, left, as she missed the nuptials