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It’s been a rough couple of years for the Royal Family.
From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step back from their roles as senior working royals, and the subsequent tell-all Oprah interview that alleged racism and bullying, to Prince Andrew’s disastrous BBC Newsnight appearance and ongoing legal troubles, negative press has followed the Royal Family around faithfully in recent years, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon.
After being scrutinised for his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in a New York prison cell in 2019, Prince Andrew was publicly accused of sexual assault by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre (claims he denies), and was subsequently pulled from all public-facing roles.
In typical royal fashion, the family have stayed resolutely tight-lipped on the accusations – though the Queen is reported to be funding Andrew’s legal expenses via her personal Duchy of Lancaster estate.
Now, Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has offered some words of support to the prince, describing the “strong family values” she and Andrew share.
Appearing at the Henley Literary Festival to promote her new Mills & Boon novel (yep, Prince Harry isn’t the only aspiring author in the Royal Family), Sarah spoke of her two new grandchildren, August and Sienna, and the pride she has in her daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.
While questions were carefully vetted beforehand to avoid any talk of Andrew’s case, the Duchess still made reference to her ex-husband when asked about her grandchildren, saying, “We all three of us keep our feet well on the ground. Both Prince Andrew and I feel very, very lucky.”
She added: “We have strong family values and these two little naughties are phenomenal enhancers of an already unified family.”
Sarah and Andrew’s youngest daughter Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank welcomed a baby boy called August Philip in February. Their eldest daughter Beatrice, meanwhile, just introduced the world to her newborn daughter Sienna Elizabeth, who she welcomed with husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi just last month.
Sarah – who continues to live with Andrew in Windsor – also appeared to take a veiled swipe at Andrew’s online critics, calling out “keyboard warriors”, and saying: “Just stop it, get on, be joyous, be loving and be compassionate.”
The US civil lawsuit brought against Prince Andrew continues.