Why is Sarah Ferguson Still a Duchess After Her Divorce From Prince Andrew?

Many remember Sarah Ferguson’s wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986 and many also remember her dramatic exit from the royal family because, well, who can forget that toe-sucking scandal. But more than two decades after their marriage ended, questions remain about the prince’s ex-wife still being a duchess and why that is.

On their wedding day, the couple received the title the Duke and Duchess of York but 10 years later they divorced. So why is Ferguson still a duchess and what would happen to that regal title if she were to marry someone else? Here are the answers to those questions and what title Fergie actually did lose after their divorce.

Sarah Ferguson
Sarah Ferguson | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Why Ferguson and Andrew got divorced

Andrew and Ferguson began to have marital problems just before the birth of their first daughter, Princess Beatrice, in 1988. Their issues had to do with his Naval career as Ferguson admitted that she spent her first pregnancy alone because he was always away. In 1990, they had another daughter, Princess Eugenie, but two years later announced that they were separating.

Following that announcement though, Fergie made headlines around the world when she was photographed sunbathing topless with her toes in the mouth of financial advisor John Bryan. Because she was still legally married to the prince at the time it was a huge embarrassment for the royal family and meant that the two really had no choice but to divorce. They did so in 1996.

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew | Indigo/Getty Images

What she got in her divorce settlement

The Sunday Telegraph reported that as part of her divorce settlement Fergie agreed to be paid $20,000 a year from the royal family and given $660,000 to buy a new house. In addition, she is said to have received around $1.8 million to start trust funds for Beatrice and Eugenie as well as another $462,000 in cash and an agreement that Prince Andrew would pay for their daughters’ education.

Before Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were married in 2018, she and her sister lived in an apartment at St. James’s Palace where the yearly rent was $25,000 and that amount too was always covered by Andrew.

Fergie loses one title but remains a duchess

Sarah Ferguson
Sarah Ferguson | Europa Press Entertainment/Europa Press via Getty Images

Following her divorce from the Duke of York, Ferguson was allowed to keep her Duchess of York title as was the custom but she also continued to use the style Her Royal Highness. Within a few months a letters patent regulating post-divorce royal titles was issued.

It stated that Fergie could not use HRH anymore since she was no longer married to Andrew. However, she would still able to retain her duchess title and today is officially known as Sarah, Duchess of York. But if Ferguson were to ever remarry, that title would be removed from her name as well.

It doesn’t seem like Fergie is in any rush to go out and find someone new as she and the prince are still very much a part of each other’s lives today and even live together in the Royal Lodge at Windsor.

Read more: How Old is Prince Andrew’s Ex-Wife Sarah Ferguson and What is Her Net Worth?

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