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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Maanya Sachdeva

Sarah Ferguson joins royals in church on Christmas Day for first time in 32 years

Getty Images

The Duchess of York returned to Sandringham for the royal family’s Christmas celebrationsfor the first time in 32 years.

Sarah Ferguson. 64, reunited with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, and former in-laws, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, as they walked from the royal estate to the St Mary Magdalene church as part of a long-standing Christmas tradition.

This is the first time Ferguson has been invited back to the royal estate since an infamous series of photographs were captured of her alongside Texan millionaire John Bryan in 1992.

After the Christmas Day service, the duchess – dressed in a dark green coat and matching headband – and Andrew joined King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William, and Princess Kate for their walkabout, as they greeted members of the public.

According to a report byThe Times, Ferguson accepted bouquets of flowers from well-wishers, while Andrew was seen laughing and joking with those waiting for a glimpse of the royal family.

Ferguson, 64, after the traditional Christmas morning service at Sandringham
— (Getty Images)

The last time Ferguson and Andrew – who was stripped off his royal title amid scrutiny over his friendship with disgraced paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – made the walk from the royal estate to St Mary Magadalene with the royal family was on Christmas Day in 1991.

The former couple, who continue to live together in the Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate, were seen walking behind Diana, the Princess of Wales, and a young Prince Harry at the time.

This year, they were also accompanied by their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and son-in-laws, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Jack Brooksbank respectively.

The invite is symbolic of Ferguson’s place within the royal family being restored after paparazzi photographs of her and Bryan on holiday in St Tropez were published in 1992.

Bryan, a businessman from Texas, addressed the scandal in an interview with Lorraine Kelly after it was depicted in the fifth season of Netflix’s fictionalised royal drama The Crown.

Ferguson greeted members of the public and accepted flowers from well-wishers
— (Getty Images)

“One morning, I woke up to 600 messages about The Crown,” he told host Lorraine Kelly last December “It instigated a huge worldwide craze.”

He also offered context for the photos, including one in which the pair were pictured with the duchess’ foot raised to his mouth, explaining that the moment was part of a Cinderella–type game with Beatrice and Eugenie.

“It was in seven acres of property in the south of France, and of course, it was a holiday for Beatrice and Eugenie,” he told Kelly.

“We were sitting by the pool, and Beatrice and Eugenie are learning how to swim.

“They were four and two years old, so we were playing games, and one of the games wound up being sort of Cinderella, with the shoes.

“Everything else that took place was just a fun child’s game,” he added.

After this year’s Sandringham Christmas service, Ferguson shared a picture of her with Beatrice and Eugenie on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

She captioned the post: “We are enjoying each other’s company and feeling grateful today. I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

“Happy Christmas to anyone who celebrates and season’s greetings to all!”

Ferguson underwent a single mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year following a routine mammogram.

Since then, she has been praised for speaking about her experiences publicly and with honesty, as Ferguson continues to urge people to get their breasts checked regularly.

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