The rebel prince. Prince Andrew has a history of shocking the royal family and the public with his choices — including his decision to marry Sarah Ferguson after dating less than one year.
The Duke of York is the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Philip. Unlike his brother, Prince Charles, Andrew has had a little more flexibility with his role in the Monarchy over the years.
For example, after reconnecting with his childhood pal Ferguson in the summer of 1985, Andrew proposed to the redhead in February 1986 — before he was technically allowed to pop the question.
“Just before midnight Andrew went down on both knees and asked Sarah Ferguson to be his wife. Sarah was caught off-guard and, to cover her confusion, tried to make light of it,” royal biographer Ingrid Seward wrote in her 1991 book, Sarah: HRH The Duchess of York, of the proposal. “She told the prince: ‘If you wake up tomorrow morning, you can tell me it’s all a huge joke.”
According to Seward, the prince asked for Ferguson’s hand in marriage again in the morning, at which time she said yes. The pair had to keep the news a secret, however, because Andrew had proposed without getting permission from the queen.
When Her Majesty returned to town from her tour to Australia, Andrew obtained her consent to marry Ferguson and the twosome publicly announced their engagement. The whirlwind romance didn’t stop there with the duo tying the knot just five months later.
Andrew again made headlines when and Ferguson announced they were separating in 1992. While many royals have since gotten divorced, including Charles and the late Princess Diana, Andrew’s split in the early ‘90s was still somewhat taboo.
The exes continued chummy relationship led many fans to think that someday the former couple could again become romantically linked.
“Although we are not a couple, we really believe in each other. The Yorks are a united family. We’ve shown it,” Ferguson, who shares Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, with Andrew, told the Daily Mail in November 2018. “You saw it at the wedding. My duty is to him. I am so proud of him. I stand by him and always will. The way we are is our fairytale.”
Ferguson continued: “So many people have asked me [if we’ll get back together], but we’re so happy with the way we are right now. We enjoy each other’s company; we allow each other to blossom. I know it sounds like a fairytale but that’s the way we are.”
The close bond that Andrew and his ex-wife have hasn’t wavered over the years, even after the prince made headlines for his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in the fall of 2019 — and was accused of sexual assault.
“Eugenie and Beatrice are really upset. They believe their dad made a huge mistake in judgment ever being associated to Jeffrey Epstein,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2019, after Andrew stepped back from his royal duties amid the controversy. “The girls are leaning on each other and are being really supportive of their dad.”
Ferguson, for her part, wished her ex-husband a happy birthday in February 2020. Three months later, she shared a family photo in honor of International Family Day. “I am so proud of our united loving family,” the duchess wrote via Instagram in May 2020.
Scroll down to see Prince Andrew’s life in photos, including all the highs and lows:
The Queen’s third child was born on February 19. At the time of his birth, he was second in line for the throne behind older brother, Charles. His older sister, Anne, Princess Royal, was bumped to third in line because gender, not age, dictated the royal succession at that time.
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The Duke of York joined the Royal Navy on a short-service commission as a Seaman Officer in 1979. He passed courses at Britannia Royal Naval College in 1980 before undergoing fixed-wing and helicopter training.
He received a Green Beret in 1980 after completing the Royal Marines All Arms Commando Course. One year later, he was presented with his “wings” and the award for best pilot by his late father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The prince married Ferguson at Westminster Abbey, five months after getting engaged.
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The pair welcomed their first child, Princess Beatrice, two years after tying the knot.
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Princess Eugenie was born two years later, rounding out Andrew’s family of four.
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Andrew separated from Ferguson in 1992, but it wasn’t until 1996 that their divorce was finalized.
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