The Duchess of York’s love of horses and understanding of how to “play the game with Camilla” has seen her welcomed back into the Royal fold, an insider has said. This would have been unthinkable if the Queen or Prince Philip were still alive, with Prince Philip thinking she was “beyond the pale”.
But according to a royal insider, Fergie has found a powerful advocate in the Queen Consort.
A source told The Mail on Sunday: “Camilla likes Sarah. They’re both gentry.
“They share a love of horses and Fergie will be smart enough to play the game with Camilla and realize she is the power behind the King. That she must be nice to them and support them.”
Mail Online reports that this connection was strengthened over Christmas when Fergie was invited to join the family for their celebrations at Sandringham.
In previous years, her ex-husband Prince Andrew and their daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie would go, but Sarah would not get an invite.
But this time she was not only a guest for Christmas lunch but also the Boxing Day shoot.
The Royal Family’s Christmas Day celebrations always used to be organized by Prince Philip.
He thought that she was “beyond the pale”, according to his biographer Gyles Brandreth, and one courtier once said he considered her to be “vulgar, vulgar, vulgar”.
It is understood the Duke and Duchess of York – who are divorced but still live together – were even given the use of Philip’s former Sandringham home, Wood Farm, during their stay.
The source said: “There was Fergie, in the thick of it, chatting away to the King and Queen Consort on the Boxing Day shoot.
“Philip would never have allowed that.
“There’s a feeling that, no matter what Sarah’s personal faults – and she can be like Marmite in that respect – she has been a good mother to the girls and loyal to Andrew.”
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The Royal Family has not forgotten the pictures of Fergie having her toes sucked by her Texan tycoon lover when they were on holiday in St Tropez in 1992.
They also have not forgotten the way she offered access to Andrew in exchange for cash and was caught in a newspaper sting.
But, despite embarrassing them, they are said to appreciate the fact that she has never sought to damage the Monarchy.
Aides say that the thawing of relations with the Duchess indicates how the way the family is being run is changing, with those changes led by the new Queen Consort.
Camilla has taken over the Queen’s old rooms at Sandringham and she and King Charles want it to be run as a relaxed family home.
A Royal insider said: “Camilla respects Sir Tony [Johnstone-Burt, head of the Royal Household] but perhaps sees things differently from him.
“The Queen Consort doesn’t want the homes and palaces run like the sort of corporate hotel you might find at a motorway service station.
“Camilla doesn’t want the towels put on the bed, but laid out on the rails in the bathrooms. She wants nice soap, not the same little individually wrapped soaps you get in a hotel.”
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Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York divorced in 1996 but still live together at the Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate.
They recently sold their jointly-owned £17 million chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier.
Fergie has also bought a £5 million home in Mayfair, central London, and it is thought that her ex-husband helped her pay for it.