Why Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s Son, Prince Edward, Has Never Held Princess Diana or Sarah Ferguson in ‘High Regard’

The youngest of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s four children, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex has never thought too highly of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and the late Princess Diana, his former sisters-in-law. Ahead, find out why Prince Edward didn’t get along with the two women when they were still married to Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. 

Prince Edward certainly keeps a lower profile than that of his older siblings — so much so he’s sometimes referred to as a forgotten royal — but he is indeed a member of the British royal family. He’s also said to be the favorite child of  Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.

Unlike the public who were smitten with Princess Diana and later the Duchess of York, the women didn’t (and maybe still don’t) hold the same magic for Prince Edward. 

Royal biographer once wrote Princess Diana’s glamour didn’t charm Prince Edward

Unlike many others in his family, Prince Edward stood alone in his dislike for Princess Diana when she joined the royal family or the Firm in 1981 following her and Prince Charles’ memorable royal wedding that enchanted the public when they kissed on Buckingham Palace’s balcony

Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prince Edward in New Zealand on April 22, 1983
Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prince Edward in New Zealand on April 22, 1983 | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

According to the author and royal biographer, Ingrid Seward, Prince Edward wasn’t impressed by Princess Diana. “Almost alone among the Royal Family, Edward was not taken in by [Diana’s] glamour,” Seward wrote in her 1995 biography, Prince Edward, per Express

Princess Diana had been ‘very popular’ among others in the royal family

Penny Junor, another author and royal biographer, wrote in her 2005 book, The Firm, everyone else accepted Princess Diana with open arms.  “There was an acceptance she was very popular,” a private secretary told Junor referring to Princess Diana. “I never heard the Queen criticize Diana.” 

When the Duchess of York officially joined the royal family in 1986 upon marrying Prince Andrew, Prince Edward felt the same about her as he did Princess Diana. 

He blamed Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana for poor state of the royal family

According to Seward’s biography, Prince Edward followed his father’s lead when it came to Princess Diana and the Duchess of York, blaming them for the royal family’s image in the public eye. 

Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York at a polo match in 1987
Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York at a polo match in 1987 | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Image

“Taking his cue from the Duke of Edinburgh, he deems them substantially responsible for many of the difficulties that have beset his family and so undermined their public standing,” Seward wrote. 

She continued, saying Edward didn’t exactly think much of Sarah or Princess Diana: “Prince Edward does not hold his sisters-in-law the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York in high regard.”

During their time in the royal family, Sarah and Diana saw their fair share of scandal. There were many shake-ups within the way things were done when Princess Diana came around. She took on less glamorous charities, changed the way royal women give birth, and, of course, there had been the drama surrounding her marriage with Prince Charles and his affair with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. 

Prince Edward and Sarah Ferguson on July 12,  1987
Prince Edward and Sarah Ferguson on July 12, 1987 | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

As for Sarah, she had been initially accepted as part of the family just like Diana, but as time went on those feelings dissolved. She and Prince Andrew divorced in 1996 — the same year as Prince Charles and Princess Diana — and the toe-sucking incident in 1992 caused strife within the family.

Today, the Duchess of York is still slowly making her way back to the high ranks of the royal family following more controversy over the years since her divorce. Meanwhile, there’s no indication that Prince Edward’s feelings have changed about Sarah or the late Princess Diana.