Princess Diana and Prince Charles faced a turbulent marriage after they tied the knot in their 1981 royal wedding. Meanwhile, Sarah Ferguson – affectionately known as Fergie – and Prince Andrew spent only six married years together before they separated in 1992, the same year as Diana and Charles.
However, Prince Edward was critical of the royal women and was “never taken in” by the Princess of Wales, according to a royal author.
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward, in her 1995 book “Prince Edward”, takes a look at the royal family dynamics.
Ms Seward writes: “Prince Edward does not hold his sisters-in-law the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York in high regard.
“Taking his cue from he Duke of Edinburgh, he deems them substantially responsible for many of the difficulties that have beset his family and so undermined their public standing.”
Prince Edward, the Princess of Wlaes and Duchess of York
Diana and Fergie joined the Royal Family in 1981 and 1986
She added: “Almost alone among the Royal Family, Edward was not taken in by [Diana’s] glamour.
“Unlike Prince Andrew, who in the early days made a great fuss over Diana, Prince Edward was always wary of the seemingly malleable ingénue who so quickly captured the imagination of the world.
“In that, he was subconsciously taking his lead from Princess Anne.
“She had no need to wait upon events: she was indifferent to Diana from the very beginning,
“She treated the woman, who by marriage to her elder brother might have become her Queen, with withering disdain. She called her ‘a silly girl’.”
Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex married in 1999
Ms Seward added: “[Edward’s] relationship with the Duchess of York also became notably detached, although for different reasons and to a far greater extent.
“Initially, Edward got on well with the exuberant redhead. Everyone did.
“She was not Edward’s romantic type – she is much too jolly-hockey-stick for his taste – but they certainly established a friendly rapport.
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However, Ms Seward describes how Fergie became “frozen out” by the Palace after her friendship with American Steve Wyatt was heavily criticised.
Ms Swards adds: “There would be no more lunches with Prince Edward.”
Then, Fergie and Edward had a major row involving Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Ms Seward writes: “Edward had once been close to the Duchess, but he had come to believe that she had made a fool of his brother (Andrew).
“Increasingly suspicious of his sister-in-law, he became convinced that she had leaked information about Sophie to her press contacts.
Ms Seward said Edward mistakenly blamed Fergie because, “shortly before the romance broke, Sophie met Sarah at Windsor and the two girls started gossiping”.
It was the Duchess of York’s habit to bring Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie to tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle every Sunday, because this was “the only opportunity the Queen had to see her grandchildren since the Duke of Edinburgh disapproved of Sarah staying in any of the royal homes”.
However, Ms Seward continues: “This was one charge too many, and when [Fergie] discovered that she was being accused, not only by Edward, but by the royal household itself she was incensed.”