Fergie’s Christmas return ‘wouldn’t have happened under Prince Philip’

Sarah Ferguson gives insight into relationship with Prince Andrew

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Sarah Ferguson’s return to a Royal Family Christmas “would never have happened while Prince Philip was alive”, a royal expert has claimed. It was reported earlier this week that the Duchess of York had been invited to participate in the Royal Family’s Christmas celebrations at Sandringham for the first time in 30 years.

The Duchess of York has reportedly not attended the festive separations with the rest of the Royal Family for three decades following the infamous “toe-sucking” scandal.

But the terrain has changed since the deaths of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, a source has claimed.

A Sandringham source told The Sun: “Andrew is banned from public life but you can’t ban him from family Christmas.

“Staff at Sandringham have been tasked with getting Wood Farm ready for the whole York family.

“When she split with Andrew, Sarah was never allowed at the family Christmas Eve and Christmas Day while Philip and the Queen were alive.

“For 30 years she used to have Christmas dinner on her own.

“But things are being done differently now.”

Royal expert Phil Dampier zeroed in on the Duke of Edinburgh’s role, claiming that such a rapprochement “would never have happened while Prince Philip was alive”.

Mr Dampier suggested this could be a fraternal “olive branch” from the monarch to his younger brother, Prince Andrew, after the sovereign reportedly confirmed to his sibling he would not be returning to working royal life.

King Charles’ gesture suggests he wants to be “forgiving” and “kind”, according to Mr Dampier.

He told MailOnline: “This looks like an olive branch from King Charles to his brother, who is otherwise out in the cold.”

He continued: “He is still a member of the family and by inviting ex-wife Fergie it looks as though Charles is being forgiving and kind.

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“It would never have happened while Prince Philip was alive and Fergie spent many Christmases on her own at Wood Farm while the rest of the royals were in the big house.

“Andy and Fergie’s daughters are grown up with kids of their own so it makes sense for them all to be invited, including the Duchess of York.

“This will please Andrew but I still don’t think he and Sarah will ever remarry.”

The Duke and Duchess of York split in 1992, and their divorce was finalised in 1996.

But shortly after the news was made public, the Duchess was photographed holidaying in the south of France alongside her financial advisor, John Bryan.

In what became known as the “toe-sucking scandal”, the Duchess of York was pictured having her feet and toes kissed and sucked by Mr Bryan in St Tropez.

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