Monday, February 17, 2020

The Rise and Fall of the Duchess of York

Another sad royal story. From Jezebel:
When Sarah Ferguson first joined the long-running primetime soap opera The Windsors in the 1980s as love interest to Prince Andrew, she was a popular figure, both inside and outside of the family; for a while, she was cast in a role very close to that of Meghan Markle, as the breath of fresh air livening up the stiff royal scene. But while Markle was welcomed as a progressive figure, a woman with a thriving career and a history of philanthropy and activism, Fergie’s narrative was that she was jolly, rowdy, horsey, charming—and, thrillingly, just a bit vulgar. For instance, Vanity Fair reported that Prince Philip was “tremendously taken with her off-color after-dinner jokes.”

It didn’t help that she was paired with and compared to Diana, who was more beautiful than ever and yet increasingly publicly miserable as Fergie arrived on the scene. At first they were “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” as the media dubbed them, a couple of girls having fun together. But in 1987, Vanity Fair asked, “Is Fergie’s Fizz Leaving Di Flat?” The subhead made it even more clear that Fergie was her foil: “In the year since her wedding, the rambunctious redheaded Duchess of York has charmed the Queen, captivated Prince Philip, and romped away with the hearts of the British public. Her angst-free antics have highlighted the mounting pressures on the Princess of Wales.”The narrative quickly turned against Ferguson. The very same qualities that had gained her praise—her cheerful informality—were deployed against her. For instance, she drew criticism for her performance in It’s a Royal Knockout, a variety show meant to demonstrate the young royals were hip and approachable, a.k.a a perfect vehicle for Ferguson. It was organized by her brother-in-law, Prince Edward, and featured several other members of the family including Anne and Andrew, but Fergie came off particularly poorly. What had once been refreshing was now recast as undignified; suddenly the vulgarity wasn’t thrilling. It’s probably not a coincidence that around the same time Fergie began to put on weight. “It became fat Fergie against wonderful Diana,” Harry Arnold of The Sun told Tina Brown. (Read more.)

Good news for the Duchess, HERE. We wish her well! Share

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